Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Perth February 9, 2012

Clarke sees Test batsman in Forrest


Australia's captain Michael Clarke believes his former state team-mate Peter Forrest can go on to become a top order Test batsman, though he has not yet revealed whether or not he will hand him a debut ODI cap in Friday's match against Sri Lanka in Perth.

Forrest is expected to be included in the XI for Australia's second match of the triangular series, but Clarke and the rest of the selection panel must decide which batsman should make way. Having watched Forrest at close quarters in New South Wales, then admired his run-scoring for Queensland this summer, Clarke was in little doubt about his capacity to make an impression in Tests. They were heartening words for Forrest ahead of the West Indies tour, and a little more than a year out from the 2013 Ashes.

"Foz is a wonderful talent and has been pretty successful for Queensland this year, he's got a very good technique, certainly a good top order batsman, and he can play a big part in Australian cricket going forward," Clarke said. "A very gifted player, a good fielder, very good batter. And not just in one-day cricket, I think he's got the potential to play Test cricket as well in the future.

"I think it's good that Foz is around the group, it gives him a great opportunity to see what it's like inside the Australian change room and how we go about our work, training and things like that. If he gets an opportunity to play then it's important that he makes the most of it and tries to grab it with both hands, but I'm not sure yet what XI we'll take onto the ground."

Forrest was not the only young player Clarke was quizzed about as his team prepared at the WACA ground. Alister McDermott, son of the bowling coach and former Test fast man Craig McDermott, has made a striking impression this summer as a much improved fast medium bowler. His 7 for 24 earlier in the day at the Gabba had almost granted the Bulls an outrageous Sheffield Shield victory over Western Australia, and Clarke said he had noted his progress.

"He's had a really good year for the Bulls and he bowled really well in the Twenty20 as well," Clarke said. "It looks like he's been working on his death bowling, his yorker is probably as good as there is in domestic cricket at the moment. Nice to see him putting consistently good performances on the board. He's a 20-year-old kid, he's got plenty of time, but I'm sure he's got goals to represent Australia in whatever form he can. If he keeps performing like that, it'll be hard to keep him out."

Given the injury-enforced absences of Brett Lee, James Pattinson and Pat Cummins among others, Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene has pointed to Australia's attack as a possible area to exploit. However Clarke countered that he was not overly worried about the visiting combination, so long as his men continued to improve themselves. He is also keeping half an eye on the team's subsequent assignments in the West Indies and England, mindful of how few international sides are presently performing as solidly on their travels as they do at home.

"That's Mahela's opinion, he's a very good player and played against a lot of opposition teams, so he feels that way, we just have to make sure we play some really good cricket, whether that be with the bat or the ball," Clarke said. "I'm not really concerned about the opposition right now, whether that be India or Sri Lanka. There's a lot of areas of our game that we've been working on as a one-day team, and that'll be our focus at training again.

"We will be tested as a team all around the world. It's been a really good start to the summer winning the Test series, but you are expected to perform in your own backyard, it's now going to be a test to see how we go when we play overseas."

Clarke's own pre-match routine was upset by the fact that Australia's hotel in Perth did not offer access to the digital television channel on which the India v Sri Lanka match was screened, though he did not lose too much sleep over the fact.

"I didn't see one ball. I was asking on Twitter how I can watch the game, but unfortunately we don't have Gem in our hotel," Clarke said of Channel Nine's digital offshoot. "So I was getting the scores off Twitter but didn't see one ball unfortunately. We looked at a lot of footage yesterday of the Sri Lankan team, so everyone in our change room knows the opposition, knows their strengths and weaknesses and what we need to do to beat them."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on February 11, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    @Harry_Kool... Gee Harry, must have been hard for you to get up to Lismore to watch young Coops play Grade cricket as a junior at your local club while watching Forrest in FC matches... lol... Coops been in Adelaide for a fair while & played his 1st FC game at 21 at AO... Coops match winning performance against Vic in his last Ryobi game was brilliant - in a match that saw 19 wkts fall for 247 runs while Coops made 60 n.o. of 9/124 - 6 to Dutchy - so AO is turning... Forrest OD form is poor - that has nothing to do with his SS stats... Some players just aren't suited to all forms of the game...

  • Roo on February 11, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    @the_flying_squad :- "you know you are being selective with your stats there"... Not at all, if anything I put in too many stats... Just his Ryobi Cup form would have been enough to show that Forrest is jumping the queue for ODI selection... As far as Test selection - well his form is good this season, but so are many other players... This season there are 17 batsmen averaging over 50 including - Wade, Christian, Forrest, Neville, Bailey, D Hussey, Quiney, Voges, Davis, Cowan, Cooper...

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    @Harry_Kool : 6 FC matches of good batting and he is deemed fit to play for Aus in ODIs???If current form is the criteria then we should change the team after every single game and drop player after 2 bad performances..Khawaja averages nearly the same over last 4 seasons..and how convenient for you to forget that Forrest's Ryobi Cup stats of below 30 average and below 70 SR...Ferguson and Cooper are definitely better player on current form..and if you start counting the no. of players who look good then we can have 5 teams representing Aus netym

  • Michael on February 10, 2012, 3:13 GMT

    I tell you what there are some negative winers on here who i bet havent even seen Forrest bat,or at least seen him bat this year.

  • Greg on February 10, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    i dont see the issue with trying a few players out really. Forrest did well in the Big Bash along with his form in shield matches, which is the basis of them selecting this squad (given their hadnt been games for 7 weeks when this squad was sleected apart from T20 games...)

    Forrest, may be not as valid a selection as others that everyone has pointed out, but argus report does say selection based on current form. and Before anyone says anything about kwajaja - he was tried and tested, and never made a significant score in tests. The selectors have told him to go make runs in shield and ryobi cup, which is good for his long term development.

    People need to learn to see the bigger picture. I think the selectors have done an excellent job so far and good on them.

  • Dayne on February 10, 2012, 2:20 GMT

    I find it interesting that everyone is raging out about the guy's stats. Sure, it is a part of the puzzle, but it is only part. It shouldn't be the be all and end all.

    Surely there has to be some measure of selecting talent that comes into the equation?

    A prime example is Doug Bracewell playing for New Zealand. 22 fc games with 67 wickets at 33.07. Yet he has a test record of 21 wickets at 16.47. He's ripped through Aussie once, and in the first test was dreadfully unlucky to not pick up at least 2 or 3 more wickets due to some pretty poor fielding/support.

    And I don't want to hear this rubbish about easy wickets v Zimbabwe. He has 10 wickets in 2 tests vs Aussie at 17.2. Compare that to 11 wickets in 2 games vs Zimbabwe at 15.8. Not a lot of difference there.

    John wright basically hasn't put a foot wrong with his selection calls so far.

  • django on February 10, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    Our batting is absolutely barren at the moment. Good luck to Forrest as he is the best bet at the moment but the fact that he is in line to play international cricket is a disgrace. If our bowling wasnt working so well at the moment Australia would be in absolute CRISIS! I dont care how many runs Clarke and Punter made in the Tests. I like what Cowan brings to our side, but 10 years ago he would have been struggling to hold a place in a domestic squad. What has happened to batting in this country?

  • Harry on February 10, 2012, 1:53 GMT

    @mari2619 4 games? You best look at the fc records again lad. Forrest also batted on the SCG for about 4 seasons which was never a batsman's paradise, again, I used to attend all the NSW games so really, stats are a useless comparison this point. Give me a batsman who has battled on difficult tracks for a number of seasons and prevails over flat track bullies who are way out of their depths at test level, case in point a lot of the Indian youngsters. As soon as Forrest went interstate and batted consistently on wickets better for batrsmen, guess what he has done? Same for Cowan as well. Perhaps if you played competitive circket you might have a better handle on what makes a batsman.

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2012, 1:12 GMT

    @Harry Kool...I watched him playing Sheffield Shield and Ryobi cup...His averaging 58 in Sheffield Shield which is great but this is the one day format? His current form in Ryobi cup this season is 29.33 at a strike rate of 67.95. LOL so you didnt do your homework? Or maybe you enjoy watching a test sort of player plodding slowly along for a scratchy 20-30. If he was selected for test team you have a point but personally cooper/khwaja/ferguson can feel more hard done as going by ryobi stats as listed here,;type=tournament

  • malla on February 9, 2012, 23:56 GMT

    u r kidding clarke!!!! aren't you? you are brand ambassador of vodaphone who let you run the live matches on your mobile.... why didnt u tuned in there????

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