August 18, 2013

Why Ryan Harris should play at The Oval

He and Chris Rogers have been Australia's sole positives in the latter half of this Ashes series
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As Australia deal with the aftermath of not only losing the Ashes series but also the convincing, even venomous, manner in which England crushed their batting to end the fourth Test, the two real positives that have emerged for sleep-weary folk Down Under are Ryan Harris and Chris Rogers.

Their efforts in Durham did not deserve to be left so unrewarded by the final result, but they can at least be consoled by the thought that they have proven themselves beyond all doubt as Test-match cricketers for their country.

I've had a lot to do with Ryan through playing together in the IPL, getting to know him as a cricketer and a man. It's certainly no surprise to see him achieve the success that's come his way in this series. In my experience he embodies everything that is required of the perfect team cricketer. Ryan drives himself as hard as he possibly can for personal excellence, but in pursuing that it's all done with a vision focused on whatever the team requires at any given moment.

Whether he's opening up with a new-ball spell, backing up late in the day for his 22nd over, or being part of a social function and trying to develop a sense of collective spirit, he's very aware of what being a team member is about. I've never seen him shy away from those requirements, whether written or unwritten. A particularly important quality is the amount of interest he shows in his team-mates. He's always been prepared to listen rather than be the dominant voice in the room, and that sort of humility helps enormously in creating a closeness among those around him.

To this point Ryan's greatest challenge has been fitness, and his efforts in England make it easy to wonder how much better Australia may have performed at various times in recent years had a fit Ryan Harris always been available to them. He's a strong guy and he works hard, but unfortunately he's someone who has found a way of picking up what starts as a niggling injury and then can develop into something more significant, leading to time on the sidelines.

With that in mind, it will be fascinating to see which way Australia's selectors go for the final Test of the series. England have themselves lost the sorely underrated Tim Bresnan to a back stress fracture, and the tourists will not want to follow suit. While mindful of the opportunity to rest guys who may be injured and therefore miss future matches, I think Ryan himself deep down would dearly like to play at The Oval. When you've missed as much cricket as he has through injury, and don't know how much you have left, you want to take every opportunity to go out and play.

Australia have a chance to show some of the resolve they demonstrated for most of the two Test matches at Old Trafford and Chester-le-Street, and try to get the kind of result that would lead to a more positive mindset when they start the return series back home. I've always felt that if they're all fit, you pick your best XI, and under those terms Ryan is just about the first man who should be chosen. Only he will truly know if he has any niggles or issues that may stop him from making it through that Test match, but I hope for Australia's sake that he plays.

The collapse of the batting on the fourth evening of the Durham Test showed that Chris Rogers' skills and character are in increasingly short supply, and should be valued as such

Having taken part in the 2008 Perth Test match that for so long seemed destined to be Chris Rogers' one and only game for Australia, I've been delighted to see him get a decent opportunity in this series, and even more so to see how tightly he has grabbed it. He was picked specifically for the tour, given his experience in England and the stability he would provide, and he has more than ticked off all of the things that were asked of him. He's been a terrific example to the whole team of how to go about your batting, how to build an innings and provide a solid foundation for the rest.

When he came into the WACA ground dressing room six years ago, he was someone stepping into an Australian team that had been very successful for many years, though we were towards the end of that run and had bid farewell to a few iconic players already. At that stage of the summer, after the dramas surrounding the end of the Sydney Test, we were probably a little bit lost, and he's said in years since that it perhaps wasn't the most comfortable change room at the time. That makes for an interesting comparison with the team Chris has become a part of now, but the main thing he has achieved is to show what can be done when a batsman knows his game and his job very clearly.

Of course, innings of the quality of his 84 at Old Trafford and then his wonderfully gutsy century in Durham raise the question about why Chris was not chosen earlier. For years Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden kept him out of the team with their unshakeable partnership. But once they retired, it appeared the selectors felt that - as he had passed the age of 30 - it was time to start giving younger players an opportunity and get early twentysomethings into the team. That was a judgement made at the time, but fortunately for Australia, Chris kept at it and was belatedly given a chance.

Having taken it up so grandly, there is no reason he should not now play many more Test matches for Australia, going on for as long as he wants to. The collapse of the batting on the fourth evening of the Durham Test showed that Chris' skills and character are in increasingly short supply, and should be valued as such.

At 33 and 35, Ryan and Chris are products of the older Australian cricket scene that pushed the importance of the Sheffield Shield through the 1990s and into the 2000s. If any players of more recent generations are wondering about what is required to become reliable first-class cricketers and then quality Test-match performers, these two men provide a priceless example of how to do so.

Adam Gilchrist was speaking to Daniel Brettig

Adam Gilchrist played 96 Tests for Australia as a wicketkeeper-batsman and was part of three winning Ashes campaigns

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 20, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    Gilchrist, who himself was picked at 28 or 9, thinks that history started in the 90s and 00s. Before that, the time trusted Australian was was to get them into the test team early. See what they are made of. Hussey is the only exception that has worked. It's still the best way. Judge this cohort in 2-3 years.

    It would have been easier if we could have introduced youth more regularly, but everyone wanted to play on, Langer way too long, Hayden ditto, then we picked north at 30, Katich to open at 33, we wasted a summer on the disinterested martyn, Steve Waugh clinging on for 03-4 before that.

    So I support the move since 09ish to inject some youth. we are weak now but will be strong later. I have seen this before. I will see it again. It is the proven Australian way. om!

  • Robert1612 on August 18, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    Well put by Gilly, and just rewards for Harris and Rogers in this current series. Australia need to identify their best team for the next 1-2 years and stick with it short of total form loss. These two players as well as M Clarke will be the first three chosen with Siddle the only other proven performer. Warner, Lyon Starc and Pattinson seem to have what it takes to make very good test players if allowed to develop. That leaves three batsmen and a wicketkeeper to round out the side. Hughes may get one more chance, Watto is surely gone if he can't score big at the Oval, not sure about Khawaja and Smith .. both look good at times. Need Maddinson or Burns to have a big start to the Aus. summer and who knows where the next batsman position comes available, top of the order (at 3) or middle order? Should be interesting times!!

  • on August 20, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    I admire Harris. He s short, but bowls with a lot of heart. I wish he pllayed another 3-4 years without any injury.

  • on August 20, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    I think Australia should try Glen Maxwell in the middle order to strengthen the batting in the 5th and final test he's a talented player.

  • MaruthuDelft on August 20, 2013, 4:39 GMT

    In anything Gilchrist does you get a sense of goodness; his writing is no exception; no malice; no sarcasm; no putting down.........Like in his batting he doesn't need those negatives. I have began to think that actually Gilchrist is the greatest cricketer ever lived.

  • on August 20, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    The Ashes in England is done and dusted. Inspite of all the criticism, I feel Australia will do well at home against Eng. My pick for the next leg is, and as per the batting order: C Rogers, D Warner, S Watson( VC ), M Clarke( C ), G Bailey, A Voges, M Wade (W), P Siddle, J Pattinson, R Harris , N Lyon Bench- J Bird, J Faulkner, M Starc, G Maxwell, S Smith, B Haddin (W )

    Its time Hughes and Cowan go back to domestic and regain the much needed confidence that Australia has successfully managed to kill. Veterans like Voges and Bailey are bound to do well under pressure.

  • on August 19, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    IMHO, there is not much between Australia and England. England, as stated by Michael Vaughan, have had the better of the batting conditions, and with Bell batting out of his skin, would've lost the first and fourth test. And lets not forget how lucky the poms have been with the all important toss of the coin. 3-0 currently but it could very easily have been 3-1 to the Aussies with a bit of luck and decent weather.

  • tenfan on August 19, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Gilly, post Langer-Hayden, it was not for giving opportunity to young talent that Chris was not given a chance. If that was the case Simon Katich wouldn't have been moved to opening role as he was 33 by then.

  • BigINDFan on August 19, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    Test cricket is about strategy and implementing it repeatedly. This is where the Aussie team of the golden years did well similar to McGrath bowling ball after ball at the same spot and wears out the batsmen. What current Aussie teams lacks is strategy and Clarke and Lehmann are bad at it. They need S.Waugh or Ponting to help them there as consultants. What should they do at the Oval in my opinion - 1) Set goals for top 4 batsmen like score 250 in the first innings, 5-7 score another 100 and tail score 50. They can hit 400 by doing that. For batting order, pick the best players of fast and swing bowling for top 4, good players of spin for 5-7. Lower the goals for second innings like 200, 80 and 20. No worries about whether they achieve it at the Oval but start the process and the right plan will emerge and batsmen will grow in confidence.

    Don't tinker with the bowling it works! Maybe look for an actual spinner not tweakers.

  • Rj_Kiwi on August 19, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    All very good comments from the master wicket keeper batsman. There are wide ranging theories about whats happened to the Australian team. The theory that the Aussie bloke has gone soft with the high standard of living is interesting but not convincing.

    Silliness aside, above all else the selectors are going to have to devise clever ways around their player resource problems. If that includes using guys who perform but only have 1-3 years left of their career, so be it.

    The scary thing for Australia is that England are far from the being the finished product, but they're streets ahead of Australia. And surely no credit can be taken from England, they have a steel and self belief about them that Australia must surely envy. The bowlers work hard and the batting lineup is such that invariably someone stands up and covers the team when most have failed. Batting down to Swan, (and till recently to Bresnan) is a luxury and for a tire attack can be a backbreaker, just ask Patto!

  • on August 20, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    Gilchrist, who himself was picked at 28 or 9, thinks that history started in the 90s and 00s. Before that, the time trusted Australian was was to get them into the test team early. See what they are made of. Hussey is the only exception that has worked. It's still the best way. Judge this cohort in 2-3 years.

    It would have been easier if we could have introduced youth more regularly, but everyone wanted to play on, Langer way too long, Hayden ditto, then we picked north at 30, Katich to open at 33, we wasted a summer on the disinterested martyn, Steve Waugh clinging on for 03-4 before that.

    So I support the move since 09ish to inject some youth. we are weak now but will be strong later. I have seen this before. I will see it again. It is the proven Australian way. om!

  • Robert1612 on August 18, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    Well put by Gilly, and just rewards for Harris and Rogers in this current series. Australia need to identify their best team for the next 1-2 years and stick with it short of total form loss. These two players as well as M Clarke will be the first three chosen with Siddle the only other proven performer. Warner, Lyon Starc and Pattinson seem to have what it takes to make very good test players if allowed to develop. That leaves three batsmen and a wicketkeeper to round out the side. Hughes may get one more chance, Watto is surely gone if he can't score big at the Oval, not sure about Khawaja and Smith .. both look good at times. Need Maddinson or Burns to have a big start to the Aus. summer and who knows where the next batsman position comes available, top of the order (at 3) or middle order? Should be interesting times!!

  • on August 20, 2013, 12:03 GMT

    I admire Harris. He s short, but bowls with a lot of heart. I wish he pllayed another 3-4 years without any injury.

  • on August 20, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    I think Australia should try Glen Maxwell in the middle order to strengthen the batting in the 5th and final test he's a talented player.

  • MaruthuDelft on August 20, 2013, 4:39 GMT

    In anything Gilchrist does you get a sense of goodness; his writing is no exception; no malice; no sarcasm; no putting down.........Like in his batting he doesn't need those negatives. I have began to think that actually Gilchrist is the greatest cricketer ever lived.

  • on August 20, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    The Ashes in England is done and dusted. Inspite of all the criticism, I feel Australia will do well at home against Eng. My pick for the next leg is, and as per the batting order: C Rogers, D Warner, S Watson( VC ), M Clarke( C ), G Bailey, A Voges, M Wade (W), P Siddle, J Pattinson, R Harris , N Lyon Bench- J Bird, J Faulkner, M Starc, G Maxwell, S Smith, B Haddin (W )

    Its time Hughes and Cowan go back to domestic and regain the much needed confidence that Australia has successfully managed to kill. Veterans like Voges and Bailey are bound to do well under pressure.

  • on August 19, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    IMHO, there is not much between Australia and England. England, as stated by Michael Vaughan, have had the better of the batting conditions, and with Bell batting out of his skin, would've lost the first and fourth test. And lets not forget how lucky the poms have been with the all important toss of the coin. 3-0 currently but it could very easily have been 3-1 to the Aussies with a bit of luck and decent weather.

  • tenfan on August 19, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Gilly, post Langer-Hayden, it was not for giving opportunity to young talent that Chris was not given a chance. If that was the case Simon Katich wouldn't have been moved to opening role as he was 33 by then.

  • BigINDFan on August 19, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    Test cricket is about strategy and implementing it repeatedly. This is where the Aussie team of the golden years did well similar to McGrath bowling ball after ball at the same spot and wears out the batsmen. What current Aussie teams lacks is strategy and Clarke and Lehmann are bad at it. They need S.Waugh or Ponting to help them there as consultants. What should they do at the Oval in my opinion - 1) Set goals for top 4 batsmen like score 250 in the first innings, 5-7 score another 100 and tail score 50. They can hit 400 by doing that. For batting order, pick the best players of fast and swing bowling for top 4, good players of spin for 5-7. Lower the goals for second innings like 200, 80 and 20. No worries about whether they achieve it at the Oval but start the process and the right plan will emerge and batsmen will grow in confidence.

    Don't tinker with the bowling it works! Maybe look for an actual spinner not tweakers.

  • Rj_Kiwi on August 19, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    All very good comments from the master wicket keeper batsman. There are wide ranging theories about whats happened to the Australian team. The theory that the Aussie bloke has gone soft with the high standard of living is interesting but not convincing.

    Silliness aside, above all else the selectors are going to have to devise clever ways around their player resource problems. If that includes using guys who perform but only have 1-3 years left of their career, so be it.

    The scary thing for Australia is that England are far from the being the finished product, but they're streets ahead of Australia. And surely no credit can be taken from England, they have a steel and self belief about them that Australia must surely envy. The bowlers work hard and the batting lineup is such that invariably someone stands up and covers the team when most have failed. Batting down to Swan, (and till recently to Bresnan) is a luxury and for a tire attack can be a backbreaker, just ask Patto!

  • on August 19, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    And Jayzuz conveniently overlooks the fact that "the tightly contested nature of the actual games" were mostly due to the efforts of Rogers and Harris. That "Australia was heading for a crushing win in the third test till rain robbed them" is simply wishful thinking as England had lost only the three wickets with Bell and Root at the crease. Thank God that there are sensible Australians such as Mr Gilchrist who do not confuse their wishes for reality. Great article!

  • milepost on August 19, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    I think age is a poor gauge of their suitability to play. If performances are there, they should be picked. In saying that, 33 is not young for a fast bowler given Harris' injury record however, he's quality. Not picking batsman on age is ridiculous. Yes getting a team culture is important but these guys are professional cricketers who go in and out of new dressing rooms all year long, so they used to it. They also bring experience for the younger guys. Tell me Rogers isn't valuable not just for his runs this series but for the 20,000 + first class ones before that? Don't discriminate on age, it's not cool. I also mean that comments that Agar is too young at 19 are silly. He also obviously has the skill required so pick him

  • wrenx on August 19, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    Lyon's been a positive too - when he's played. As has Clarke, though it doesn't necessarily look that we, just because he got some unplayable deliveries early in his innings

  • ReverseSweepIndia on August 19, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    in hindsight it looked at except Clark, Rhino, Rogers and Siddle, Aus could have chose their squad from Under-19 + Agar. Atleast those guys would have got precious little experience. And as young they would be, hungry for success, as they would be seeing seniors (above mentioned 4) perform, they would have tried to punch above their weight and I wonder even series scoreline could have been little different. (They still may have lost, Eng being the better side but only 1-0, 2-1 kind of). Current squad, does it look like guys like Watson, Hughes, Haddin are going to learn something?

  • Cricket_theBestGame on August 19, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    @popcorn - spot on mate!

    why was katich dropped ????? !!!

  • balajik1968 on August 19, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    Australia lost Martyn, Langer, Warne & McGrath in 2006-07. They lost Gilchrist in 2007-08 and Hayden in 2008-09. Six regular players in about 2 years will blow a hole in any team. To top it Stuart Clark was pretty much injury-prone. Too many players in the team in the same age group meant that they retired at about the same time and hence a lot of players waiting in the wings fell away. So I guess there is a warning for all teams somewhere.

  • landl47 on August 19, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    @Jayzuz,: yes, you're right, the fact that England and Australia are equal is being obscured by the results. Australia has lost 7 and drawn 1 of their last 8 tests, England has won 7 and drawn 5 of their last 12. Other than that, they're exactly the same.

  • Dragonboyz on August 19, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    @Browners76- I agree South Africa and England is doing well in Test arena but dont tell that real fans are who values test cricket. Every format has its own skill sets and its not easy to master it. The same England team couldn't become a force in T 20 and odi format. If a test player is a real cricketer then cook and Trott should have been adapted odi easily but even many England fans feel that Cook and Trott play very slowly and they feel England need different people in odi team. Same goes to SA who had a terrible odi series with Sri Lanka. India cleared their non performing players and their younger players are jelling well and Australia is going into rebuilding phase and some bad management decisions. Even in ashes except Bell no one looks consistent in batting department. England team have flaws but Australia didn't expose much. Though Australia has decent bowling line up I am very sure South African and Pakistan bowling line up would have exposed the England batting weaknesses.

  • Jayzuz on August 19, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    Interesting to note that the heading says that Rogers and Harris are the ONLY positives from the second half of the series, while Gilchrist says no such thing in the actual article. Australia was heading for a crushing win in the third test till rain robbed them of a victory, and they were one Bresnan/Swann slogfest away from victory in the fourth. I would have thought those to be pretty positive things. Didn't Starc pick up wickets in the 3rd and score a stylish half century? Didn't Smith hit 90-odd in the the third, Warner and Rogers put on a 100 run opening stand in the 4th innings of the 4th test, Lyon pick up 7 wickets? I could go on. The reality is that in terms of individual performances, England have no more positives than Australia, and plenty of negatives (Trott, Anderson's recent bowling, Cook, Root, Bairstow, Prior's batting...). But all this is glossed over by the final scoreline, and the tightly contested nature of the actual games forgotten.

  • dmat on August 19, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    I think what the Aus cricket side has lacked over the last few years is people like Rogers and Harris - not so much for their performances, more for their character. The team is full of too many players who seem more focused on individual achievements - Clark, Watson, Hughes, Warner to name a few. Perhaps Siddle is the only other true team player. I was not previously big fans of either Rogers or Harris but now understand their value to the team and feel they should both be automatic selections (subject to fitness) for the return series even if their performances dip in one or two games - their value to the team goes beyond runs and wickets.

  • suubsy on August 18, 2013, 19:04 GMT

    If Australia has to carry any momentum into the next ashes series it would be by winning this final test. And Harris has to play to drive that vision into reality. No second thoughts and Gilly is spot on. Harris is the best Aussie seamer in this series, he can take any break if needed after the test. England has shown they are vulnerable, and James Anderson has not picked much wickets after first couple tests, and their batsmen have been saved by some lower order batting and Ian Bell and inept Aussie batting. If Australia plays full steam, they can perhaps do what Allan Border's team did to England back in 1987 Sydney test, Dean Jones scored big century, spinners took wickets and Aus beat Eng in the last few minutes carrying the momentum to 1989 Ashes and remained there till 2005. England is on down slide, Cook is feeling the pressure, Root and Bairstow already struggling, and you never know with Pietersen, bowlers are aging or injury prone. Australia HAS to field their best XI.

  • on August 18, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    @Milhouse79, You are right, Hughes is not the new Bradman, nobody ever claimed he was. Now just go and look up last years shield figures for your suggested replacements and tell me again how they could have justifiably been called up after Ponting and Hussey bowed out. Rogers forced his way in on the back of runs and was duly selecter, all of your other good old hands failed miserably. What is Inverarity meant to do, magically judge which one of these old blokes averaging 20 in the shield is going to come in and average fifty in the test team? The fact is that with the departure of Hussey and Punter came a huge opportunity for any of the likes of DHussey, Bailey, Voges, Ferguson et al to put up some runs and say 'pick me'. fact is that not one of them did anything at all! Rogers and Haddin have been the only two old hands to put runs on the clock and have rightly been selected while the others have not. Let them score runs and they may just get a chance!

  • on August 18, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    Extremely well-written and insightful article. Props.

  • Shaggy076 on August 18, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    Popcorn; I think you missed the important line from what Gilchrist wrote "values the sheffield shield". This is the product that we must pick future test cricketers from, we need a strong sheffield shield to produce these test cricketers. Katich did not play sheffield shield last year and as such should not be picked. Miihouse 79 - D hussey would have found his way into the team if he was successful at the Sheffield shield last year. We need to start putting value in performance in our greatest competetion.

  • popcorn on August 18, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    It is time the Selectors gave up their fancy for clueless, immature, youngsters, and opted for experience. The first mistake was dropping Chris Rogers after giving him just one game at Perth where he was wrongly adjudged out, but John Inverarity of the old school,realized not too late what a fine,gritty opener he is. The next mistake - yet to be rectified, and can be rectified is dropping Simon Katrich. He is available,never retired, and is currently in England.He should be recalled to the side to partner Chris Rogers as opener. Phil Hughes and David Warner can wait for 5 years.

  • Jaffa79 on August 18, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    I like Rogers; a good old fashioned batmen who knuckles down and someone who embarrasses the flashing blades around him who don't have the stomach for the fight. Aussies should sweep the decks clear of Warner, Cowan, Watson, Smith and Khawaja are maybe get 1 or 2 of Katich, D.Hussey or Voges in to provide a short term solution and hope Maddinson or Burns or someone else comes through in the next year. Too many of the batsmen in this series have had too many chances and the people that defend them on these pages are examples of how Australians now celebrate mediocrity. Hate to break it some people but Hughes is not the 'new Bradman'.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 18, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    @Prabhakar Muthukrishnan, I agree to a point weight training and working in a gym is good for maintaing general fitness or when coming back from injury, but allowing the body to develop naturally by doing what you do.

    I also agree that messing in a major way with a bowlers natural mechanics is a bad thing, as you say most blowers bodies develop naturally to take the stresses, the only time to make changes to a bowling rhythm is when there is something that is causing a problem, such as Finn and hitting the wickets, or like Lillie after his operation.

  • on August 18, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    May be there is merit in what some eminent former cricketers like the great Sunny Gavaskar have said recently - weight training is what is leading to the frequent injuries to fast bowlers. Fast bowling as it is - is a tough job and over training , particularly with weights could result in injuries. A fast bowler, any bowler for that matter, should be allowed to bowl using 'his' own action too. The body naturally adopts to an action that it invents. Moreover, the more you bowl the more the body parts will get stronger. Good examples are Kapil Dev and Coutney Walsh. They were virtually injury free throughout their long careers. Their training was based more on routines focusing on free hand exercises , aerobic fitness and bowling , more bowling.

  • browners76 on August 18, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    I'm so glad as an England fan that the county championship is still the primary competition in England. The system clearly works as the strong first division county sides are producing most of the test and Lions players. Long may it continue. I don't think any real cricket fans give a toss about T20 or ODI cricket, clearly in Australia and India the shorter formats seem to be more popular with fans and players alike to the detriment of the test arena. At the moment South Africa and England are clearly head and shoulders above everyone else and that's simply due to a good solid first class system that that pushes young players to perform.

  • landl47 on August 18, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    The problem is for Australia that these two have been by some distance the best players for Aus in the current series, apart from Clarke at Old Trafford, and they're 33 (soon to be 34) and 35. They're as good as they're going to get now and they're going to start declining in the near (1-2 years) future.

    They're very good players and great guys, but even with them Aus is losing this series 3-0. What happens when they're gone?

  • Ragav999 on August 18, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    Fantastic article recognizing the importance of experienced and proven performers. I hope Cricket Australia don't hasten any more exits of older, experienced players in the future citing age as the sole criteria or remove them from consideration for the international team. Ryan Harris has always been consistent whenever he has played and it would be nice to see him play as many tests as possible without any more injuries for the rest of his career.

  • on August 18, 2013, 3:34 GMT

    Gilchrist makes excellent points in his last 2 paragraphs. Harris and Rogers are products of the tough domestic Cricket that prepared Australian Cricketers for test match cricket in the late 90's and first half of the noughties. It is just bad luck that they have not been able to play more Cricket for Australia. I am not sure the standard of Shield Cricket in Australia is strong now to prepare such quality cricketers any more. Looks like IPL has affected Australia even more than it has affected India.

  • on August 18, 2013, 3:34 GMT

    Gilchrist makes excellent points in his last 2 paragraphs. Harris and Rogers are products of the tough domestic Cricket that prepared Australian Cricketers for test match cricket in the late 90's and first half of the noughties. It is just bad luck that they have not been able to play more Cricket for Australia. I am not sure the standard of Shield Cricket in Australia is strong now to prepare such quality cricketers any more. Looks like IPL has affected Australia even more than it has affected India.

  • Ragav999 on August 18, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    Fantastic article recognizing the importance of experienced and proven performers. I hope Cricket Australia don't hasten any more exits of older, experienced players in the future citing age as the sole criteria or remove them from consideration for the international team. Ryan Harris has always been consistent whenever he has played and it would be nice to see him play as many tests as possible without any more injuries for the rest of his career.

  • landl47 on August 18, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    The problem is for Australia that these two have been by some distance the best players for Aus in the current series, apart from Clarke at Old Trafford, and they're 33 (soon to be 34) and 35. They're as good as they're going to get now and they're going to start declining in the near (1-2 years) future.

    They're very good players and great guys, but even with them Aus is losing this series 3-0. What happens when they're gone?

  • browners76 on August 18, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    I'm so glad as an England fan that the county championship is still the primary competition in England. The system clearly works as the strong first division county sides are producing most of the test and Lions players. Long may it continue. I don't think any real cricket fans give a toss about T20 or ODI cricket, clearly in Australia and India the shorter formats seem to be more popular with fans and players alike to the detriment of the test arena. At the moment South Africa and England are clearly head and shoulders above everyone else and that's simply due to a good solid first class system that that pushes young players to perform.

  • on August 18, 2013, 5:43 GMT

    May be there is merit in what some eminent former cricketers like the great Sunny Gavaskar have said recently - weight training is what is leading to the frequent injuries to fast bowlers. Fast bowling as it is - is a tough job and over training , particularly with weights could result in injuries. A fast bowler, any bowler for that matter, should be allowed to bowl using 'his' own action too. The body naturally adopts to an action that it invents. Moreover, the more you bowl the more the body parts will get stronger. Good examples are Kapil Dev and Coutney Walsh. They were virtually injury free throughout their long careers. Their training was based more on routines focusing on free hand exercises , aerobic fitness and bowling , more bowling.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 18, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    @Prabhakar Muthukrishnan, I agree to a point weight training and working in a gym is good for maintaing general fitness or when coming back from injury, but allowing the body to develop naturally by doing what you do.

    I also agree that messing in a major way with a bowlers natural mechanics is a bad thing, as you say most blowers bodies develop naturally to take the stresses, the only time to make changes to a bowling rhythm is when there is something that is causing a problem, such as Finn and hitting the wickets, or like Lillie after his operation.

  • Jaffa79 on August 18, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    I like Rogers; a good old fashioned batmen who knuckles down and someone who embarrasses the flashing blades around him who don't have the stomach for the fight. Aussies should sweep the decks clear of Warner, Cowan, Watson, Smith and Khawaja are maybe get 1 or 2 of Katich, D.Hussey or Voges in to provide a short term solution and hope Maddinson or Burns or someone else comes through in the next year. Too many of the batsmen in this series have had too many chances and the people that defend them on these pages are examples of how Australians now celebrate mediocrity. Hate to break it some people but Hughes is not the 'new Bradman'.

  • popcorn on August 18, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    It is time the Selectors gave up their fancy for clueless, immature, youngsters, and opted for experience. The first mistake was dropping Chris Rogers after giving him just one game at Perth where he was wrongly adjudged out, but John Inverarity of the old school,realized not too late what a fine,gritty opener he is. The next mistake - yet to be rectified, and can be rectified is dropping Simon Katrich. He is available,never retired, and is currently in England.He should be recalled to the side to partner Chris Rogers as opener. Phil Hughes and David Warner can wait for 5 years.

  • Shaggy076 on August 18, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    Popcorn; I think you missed the important line from what Gilchrist wrote "values the sheffield shield". This is the product that we must pick future test cricketers from, we need a strong sheffield shield to produce these test cricketers. Katich did not play sheffield shield last year and as such should not be picked. Miihouse 79 - D hussey would have found his way into the team if he was successful at the Sheffield shield last year. We need to start putting value in performance in our greatest competetion.

  • on August 18, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    Extremely well-written and insightful article. Props.