The Ashes 2010-11 November 15, 2010

An embarrassing dress rehearsal

30

The selectors' job is to make decisions but Australia's keep on delaying them. In picking a 17-man practice squad in Sydney's Circular Quay the panel has taken a roundabout route of arriving at the real unit for next week's opening Ashes Test.

In Australian cricket 17 is the number of men who usually go on an Ashes tour, or the age of Ian Craig on Test debut in 1952-53, not the size of a squad for a home game. This is the sort of embarrassing tactic expected of England between 1989 and 2002-03, when they picked and discarded so many apples.

The tourists, who have only 16 in their unit for the entire series, arrive in Hobart later today for their final warm-up before the Gabba with a squad as settled as Tasmanian cider. Ashes roles have reversed and the Australian camp can't see the shame. England deserve their laughs.

Andrew Hilditch, a solicitor and part-time chairman of selectors, looked more a man in the dock than someone prosecuting his case in Sydney. He was unconvincing when saying the panel "thought it was prudent" to wait until the conclusion of this week's round of Sheffield Shield and Australia A games before finalising the squad. If they thought it was prudent why didn't they do what they usually do? The selectors couldn't even pick the timing of the release because it didn't suit Cricket Australia's marketing.

A team ranked No.5 in Tests obviously needs a lot of pumping up from the spin department. So the announcement was delivered in a soggy park near the beautiful Sydney Harbour and the key figures and spectators were rained on. Even picking 17 players couldn't inflate the crowd, which struggled to get into three figures. PR lost to substance again.

Instead of doing the traditional, sensible thing of deciding on the squad a few days before it convened in Brisbane, the selectors had to make their choice 10 days before the game. But they didn't do any choosing. They opened the gates to allow most of the contract list in. No picking of the players they wanted and focusing on the series come what may, just a lot of hedging and more uncertainty.

Ryan Harris is in despite having a knee injury that won't go away and will struggle to last five days. The spinner Xavier Doherty gets a spot while averaging 48 as an intermittent first-class bowler. Doherty is there in case the side needs a left-arm orthodox at the Gabba instead of Nathan Hauritz's offspin.

Only three specialist left-arm spinners have played in Brisbane over the last ten Tests and all were from visiting sides. The best return was Ashley Giles' 4 for 101 off 29.2 overs in 2002-03. Hauritz has a good record against left-handers - they make up 22 of his 63 Test wickets - and England have four of them in their first-choice XI.

The young batsmen Callum Ferguson, Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith are included, at least for the duration of the Australia A game, and are really on standby in case Hilditch and Co finally lose faith in Michael Hussey or Marcus North. If they don't, which is most likely, the team will be a familiar one.

The next elimination round will lop the collection to the familiar size of 12 or 13 in time for training in Brisbane next Monday. Most of the new faces won't even make it to Queensland. Why bother stringing them along?

This is the uncertain age of Australian cricket. On Sunday two comments from the team's current and former members summed up the hazy focus. In one story Johnson told how Ricky Ponting had kept the spirits of the side up during their recent losing streak. "We are still the No.1 one-day side in the world," Ponting said, "and there is nothing to be stressed about."

In the next article Matthew Hayden, who retired in 2009, said the team had never been interested in rankings. "It's not really culturally part of the side," Hayden said. It is now. Talk of rankings - the good ones - and luck sit alongside inflated Test squads. The Barmy Army have been given a new chant: "Are you England in disguise?"

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Clyde on November 16, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    I have told Peter several times, via the excellent comment facility on Cricinfo, that he is what is known in the trade as a beat-up merchant and he creates his own portents. He has pulled himself together and done better, twice, but this one is a backslider.

  • on November 16, 2010, 11:47 GMT

    English, do us all a favour and give the Aussie bashing a rest. As an Australian living in England, one thing I had always noticed was how the Aussie press and commentators used to get behind the team, whilst the English press constantly moaned and brought the team down. How ironic then that you should accuse the selectors of being 'England in disguise'.

  • Mitcher on November 16, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    I don't like the 17-man squad at all but as mentioned I guess sign of the PR times. In cricket terms though a complete waste of time. The bonus for the bumbling selectors is they get a chance to look like they're considering up and comers when they know they'll just pick the same old crew. In relation to ponting saying Australia no. 1 ODI side. Well like them or lump them, the ICC rankings give Aust a healthy lead based on some pretty impressive performances in past 18-24 months. 1. Australia (128), Sri Lanka (118), India (117). No more ridiculous than India ranked no. 1 in tests even though they're nothing but flat/home track bullies.

  • David47 on November 16, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    @Tristan Kennedy - yes, and that's why Steve O'Keefe is THE best spinning prospect in Aus by a country lightyear. My side for the first test if fit (yes, I know some aren't in the 17) - 1. Watson (ex Qld) 2. Katich (ex WA) 3. Ponting 4. Clarke 5. D Hussey 6. Usman K 7. Paine 8. O'Keefe 9. Harris 10. Hilfy 11. Bollinger. NB: I've put the notes in brackets after Watson and Katich so some of you VIC fans might go less spare than usual about the number of NSW players.

  • Timoff on November 16, 2010, 0:35 GMT

    Its not for a lack of talent or ability that Australia won't win the Ashes, its a lack of self-belief. Unfortunately Punter doesn't have it or is not able to generate it in the team. Back in the day with the likes of Warne, Gilly and McGrath he didn't have to worry, but now who is there with that belief that they can and will win every time? Self-belief would have gotten them over the line in Cardiff and Mohali and we may not now be having this discussion. Its a very good side on paper but they are being let down by not playing consistently well as a unit - not believing in their ability has to be a reason for that. Look at England, they definitely have it, just like they did in 2005.

  • Number_5 on November 16, 2010, 0:23 GMT

    Thanks to the internet and cricketinfo go to the 1985 Adelaide Test between Australia and England, it was Merv Hughes debut (i found it by going to Merv's profile and following the link to his debut game) Examine the team and then answer this question, which bowling attack is stronger? McDermott 290+ test wickets, Merv 200+, Brue Reid cruelly cut down by injury but a 200+ wicket taker had he been fit, Mathews and Bright, not big turners but solid performers in the tied test. Id go for the 1985 attack. The punchline, this is regarded, without quetsion as the weakest period in Australian cricekt history.....We (Aust) are in so much trouble this summer it aint funny. It just aint funny. I know the boys will play their hearts out for Oz and I with many others will be ther supporint them..but sometimes the facts are too hard to ignore....

  • Phat-Boy on November 15, 2010, 23:48 GMT

    LOL @ people saying "this is the Australia way" etc etc. If that's true, how come it hasn't been done before? This doesn't put pressure on the likes of Doherty, Ferguson, Smith - it tells them "hey, you are THIS close to getting picked even though your first class records wouldn't even get you a start for teams like New Zealand." Selecting two bowlers who average almost 50 and a batsman who averages 37 on the best batting wicket in Australia rewards mediocrity. Picking 17 shows that the selectors and those in charge a) have no real plan as to what they want to do to England, and b) have no plan as to how they are going to do it.

  • stormy16 on November 15, 2010, 18:55 GMT

    This is a sign of reality - its time to panic and rightfully so. Aus go in to an Ashes after a long (long) time uncertain and low on confidence and it shows. The announcement of the team this early is totally out of charactor as is the form leading up to Gabba. Eng have their best chance since the 80's to win the Ashes down under but the home advantage balances the contest to what should be one of the great Ashes match up's on paper.

  • WilliamFranklin on November 15, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    Well they had to pick a large squad this early. For Doherty to still average 50, and after he has apparently played well the last couple of seasons shows just how shocking he must have been before. What was his average then, 80?? Jeez.

    You have to say there is a bit of an air of panic around Australia right now.

  • Strayan_in_USA on November 15, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    So what if the Aussies have a 17 man squad. I say that in all reality the Aussies always have that large of a squad when they are playing at home. By selecting extra players to be with the team instead of their Shield sides for the preparation for the tests it gives these players (Ferguson, Khwaja, and Doherty) some insight into what will be required if they are pressed into duty later in the series. I guess that the selectors must have been reading the press though because by selection of these extra players they are covering their behinds if the batting or spinning performances don't pan out early in the series. I salute progressive thinking by selecting a large squad and giving others players a chance to experience what will be required from them in the not too distant future. I hope that the Aussies keep the same 11 throughout the summer and are able to win the Ashes back. Just in case they can't at least the infrastructure will be in place to get new blood into the team immediatel

  • Clyde on November 16, 2010, 13:34 GMT

    I have told Peter several times, via the excellent comment facility on Cricinfo, that he is what is known in the trade as a beat-up merchant and he creates his own portents. He has pulled himself together and done better, twice, but this one is a backslider.

  • on November 16, 2010, 11:47 GMT

    English, do us all a favour and give the Aussie bashing a rest. As an Australian living in England, one thing I had always noticed was how the Aussie press and commentators used to get behind the team, whilst the English press constantly moaned and brought the team down. How ironic then that you should accuse the selectors of being 'England in disguise'.

  • Mitcher on November 16, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    I don't like the 17-man squad at all but as mentioned I guess sign of the PR times. In cricket terms though a complete waste of time. The bonus for the bumbling selectors is they get a chance to look like they're considering up and comers when they know they'll just pick the same old crew. In relation to ponting saying Australia no. 1 ODI side. Well like them or lump them, the ICC rankings give Aust a healthy lead based on some pretty impressive performances in past 18-24 months. 1. Australia (128), Sri Lanka (118), India (117). No more ridiculous than India ranked no. 1 in tests even though they're nothing but flat/home track bullies.

  • David47 on November 16, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    @Tristan Kennedy - yes, and that's why Steve O'Keefe is THE best spinning prospect in Aus by a country lightyear. My side for the first test if fit (yes, I know some aren't in the 17) - 1. Watson (ex Qld) 2. Katich (ex WA) 3. Ponting 4. Clarke 5. D Hussey 6. Usman K 7. Paine 8. O'Keefe 9. Harris 10. Hilfy 11. Bollinger. NB: I've put the notes in brackets after Watson and Katich so some of you VIC fans might go less spare than usual about the number of NSW players.

  • Timoff on November 16, 2010, 0:35 GMT

    Its not for a lack of talent or ability that Australia won't win the Ashes, its a lack of self-belief. Unfortunately Punter doesn't have it or is not able to generate it in the team. Back in the day with the likes of Warne, Gilly and McGrath he didn't have to worry, but now who is there with that belief that they can and will win every time? Self-belief would have gotten them over the line in Cardiff and Mohali and we may not now be having this discussion. Its a very good side on paper but they are being let down by not playing consistently well as a unit - not believing in their ability has to be a reason for that. Look at England, they definitely have it, just like they did in 2005.

  • Number_5 on November 16, 2010, 0:23 GMT

    Thanks to the internet and cricketinfo go to the 1985 Adelaide Test between Australia and England, it was Merv Hughes debut (i found it by going to Merv's profile and following the link to his debut game) Examine the team and then answer this question, which bowling attack is stronger? McDermott 290+ test wickets, Merv 200+, Brue Reid cruelly cut down by injury but a 200+ wicket taker had he been fit, Mathews and Bright, not big turners but solid performers in the tied test. Id go for the 1985 attack. The punchline, this is regarded, without quetsion as the weakest period in Australian cricekt history.....We (Aust) are in so much trouble this summer it aint funny. It just aint funny. I know the boys will play their hearts out for Oz and I with many others will be ther supporint them..but sometimes the facts are too hard to ignore....

  • Phat-Boy on November 15, 2010, 23:48 GMT

    LOL @ people saying "this is the Australia way" etc etc. If that's true, how come it hasn't been done before? This doesn't put pressure on the likes of Doherty, Ferguson, Smith - it tells them "hey, you are THIS close to getting picked even though your first class records wouldn't even get you a start for teams like New Zealand." Selecting two bowlers who average almost 50 and a batsman who averages 37 on the best batting wicket in Australia rewards mediocrity. Picking 17 shows that the selectors and those in charge a) have no real plan as to what they want to do to England, and b) have no plan as to how they are going to do it.

  • stormy16 on November 15, 2010, 18:55 GMT

    This is a sign of reality - its time to panic and rightfully so. Aus go in to an Ashes after a long (long) time uncertain and low on confidence and it shows. The announcement of the team this early is totally out of charactor as is the form leading up to Gabba. Eng have their best chance since the 80's to win the Ashes down under but the home advantage balances the contest to what should be one of the great Ashes match up's on paper.

  • WilliamFranklin on November 15, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    Well they had to pick a large squad this early. For Doherty to still average 50, and after he has apparently played well the last couple of seasons shows just how shocking he must have been before. What was his average then, 80?? Jeez.

    You have to say there is a bit of an air of panic around Australia right now.

  • Strayan_in_USA on November 15, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    So what if the Aussies have a 17 man squad. I say that in all reality the Aussies always have that large of a squad when they are playing at home. By selecting extra players to be with the team instead of their Shield sides for the preparation for the tests it gives these players (Ferguson, Khwaja, and Doherty) some insight into what will be required if they are pressed into duty later in the series. I guess that the selectors must have been reading the press though because by selection of these extra players they are covering their behinds if the batting or spinning performances don't pan out early in the series. I salute progressive thinking by selecting a large squad and giving others players a chance to experience what will be required from them in the not too distant future. I hope that the Aussies keep the same 11 throughout the summer and are able to win the Ashes back. Just in case they can't at least the infrastructure will be in place to get new blood into the team immediatel

  • SettingSun on November 15, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    I think it was quite fitting that England style weather piddled on to this really quite comical media event. What an absolute shambles in every sense of the word. Not one of them looked like they wanted to be there. And as for the business of being the number one ODI side in the world, it's good to see Punter is still 'on the sauce', to quote Michael Vaughan.

  • popcorn on November 15, 2010, 15:40 GMT

    Why does it bother you, Peter, that Cricket Australia is putting pressure on ALL the established Test Cricketers AND the hopefuls to perform? Why are you forgetting that it is THE AUSTRALIAN WAY - take pride in your baggy green - earn your baggy green - hold on to your baggy green by the sheer weight of your performance? And why do you forget Andrew Hilditch's words he spoke earlier - "we've known the line-up for the first Test at The Gabba a long time now". Mark my words - unless one of the cricketers does a Damien Martyn - the Australian line-up will remain unchanged for ALL the five TESTS.

  • nandydesikan on November 15, 2010, 14:54 GMT

    Cant wait to see the Kangaroos kicked in their backyard.....

  • KingofRedLions on November 15, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    This is what happens when you need to make an article from vapour. They named a large squad becuase there's still ten days to go. So what?

  • Waddle on November 15, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    I have been following Ashes Test Series since 1978/79 and I have a feeling that there is a little too much anti-Aussie speculation at the moment. They have good players who have been successful in Ashes series down under before. Spin is obviously a weak area but an attack of Hilfenhaus, Johnson & Bollinger cannot be sniffed at. Watson, Katich, Ponting, Hussey and Clarke have all been run machines in their time and it would only take a couple of them to get 500 runs in the series for England to be put under pressure. England are in a good place at the moment but are definitely still developing, and their upward arc may not yet quite coincide with Australia's (percieved) downward spiral. In an age when not even a test victory against Bangladesh can be guaranteed, I would be very very wary about writing Australia off at this stage.

  • decko on November 15, 2010, 13:00 GMT

    I have to say I really think people are over reacting to Australia selecting a 17 man squad, especially Peter English the author of the article. Im a die hard fan and follow Australia in every game. I agree that Australia should have delayed there selection until closer to the Ashes and picked a 13 man outfit but if they couldn't wait for whatever reason then picking a 17 man preliminary squad is prudent. It's a very good idea to include Doherty and Ryan Harris in the squad and I'll bet they are the bowlers that'll win the Ashes for us especailly Harris who is back to full fitness and by far the best bowler in Australia, excluding Lee. Let's be honest we have taken a beating recently and some of our older players need to be rotated but Australia is still the best cricketing nation in the world and let's hope we always will be. Don't lose faith people. How quick we are to jump off the band wagon! Aussie, Aussie, Aussie

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on November 15, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    Agree that i cant think of a more shambolic disjointed lead up to an Ashes series from Australia. With the commercial involvement these days i can understand sponsors wanting to have a launch but the selectors should have told them firmly that we arent naming a team til the traditional and sensible time after the round of Shield games. A list of 17 is almost pointless. That said the England 'lean mean 16' is also shadowed all the way around Australia by a second similar sized second team under the Lions name or somesuch isnt it? Oh and Australia are presumably still No1 in ODI's because theyve won the last 3 World Cups and are undefeated in ANY match in the only ODI competition that matters since 1999.

  • Jonte_Ganguly on November 15, 2010, 10:52 GMT

    So what if they picked 17 men. It's still nearly 2 weeks to go and 2 important games to come until the ashes. It would've been more silly to pick 12 now. One thing though: If Ferguson played for NSW he'd be in the starting line up. The real tragedy about the selectors is that they can't see far past the eastern seaboard. This is Australia not Vic-South-Wales.

  • on November 15, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    Australia do have some serious problems in the spin department, with none of the selected spinners averaging under 40 in first-class cricket (Doherty 48.8, Smith 49.35, Hauritz 43.46). The only Australian spinner i can think of who has a decent first-class bowling average at the moment has only 9 games to his credit, being Steve O'Keefe (33 wickets at 25.18)

  • Bigbanger666 on November 15, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    Gilly. If Doherty is the best spinner in the country with a first class ave of nearly50 Aus is totally gone!!!!!

  • Bigbanger666 on November 15, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    I'm a die hard Aussie but having watched India in the way they play their cricket nowadays I hat e to say that I think I am going to follow them from now onwards. I am totally bored with the way Aus cricket is going and I see plenty of Xfactor cricket with India. Go Harbi!!!

  • on November 15, 2010, 6:34 GMT

    England in disguise indeed! This is embarassing and speak of a PR disaster to boot, of making a public announcement of this team! The announcement of the team ten days in advance is a throw back to the days when Australian teams pretty much picked itself and guys lke Lehmann and Hodge, however good they were, just played Sheffied shiield cricket. Somehow Australia has not come to terms with its standing today and that is nowhere near the top contrary to what Ponting might say to rally his belaguered troops. Now is the time for Australia to accept that it is close to the bottom of the barrel and nearly where it was in 1985 and 86 when they built a nucleus for the future. The Ashes must be the last series with hangers on like Hussey, North and Hauritz. Australia has enough talent and young talent at that. Greg Chappel should focus on the future and not worry unduly about reputations or sentiment, otherwise Australia will continue to struggle. sridhar

  • landl47 on November 15, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    If after losing series to England, India and Sri Lanka Ponting still thinks Australia are the #1 one-day side in the world, he needs to see a specialist about his perception of reality.

  • Iceborn999 on November 15, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    Total embarrassment. 3 Spinners picked in a squad for 1 game.... What the hell are these clowns doing honestly.

  • katandthat3 on November 15, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    Good article Peter. Just one point though, I think people are missing the point when they keep referring to Doherty's first class average. Are you suggesting that Doherty is the same bowler now as he was when he started his first class career? Well no he isn't and most spinners besides some of the freaks take a while to ply their trade so maybe taking his average from the last few years is more relevent. Glad he's getting recognised.This ineptitude from the top of CA through to the selection process is really grinding my gears, for such an important series, they really are trying to balls it up.

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 15, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    As the old adage goes "Never change a winning side". Unfortunately, Australia aren't winning. If you are on a massive losing streak, you make radical changes. I just pray that the selectors have some common sense and chop the players that aren't performing. The bare minimum 2 changes - less North and Hauritz - must be made if Australia are to have any chance at all in the Ashes. More than that, maybe also Hilfenhaus (who struggles in Australia), Hussey (slightly out of form, at least in tests) as well as Michael Clarke, Simon Katich and Doug Bollinger (all due to injury) may be useful too. We need radical changes. I am most happy that they have named Doherty in the squad. Even if he doesn't play, just being named in the squad shows that he is being thought of. Good reward for the top spinner in Australia for the past 2 1/2 years.

  • dsig3 on November 15, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    Is this the worst ashes preparation by an Aussie side of all time? I have never in my 27 years seen us in this state. We are struggling to win a game of darts at the moment. If we hadnt choked in mohali things could have been so different. If X.Doherty plays for Aus I think we can safely say rock bottom has been reached. It cant get any worse can it?......

  • thewayitwass on November 15, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    Peter English, the australian basher at it again... once the selectors hands were forced into picking the squad early (something which obviously isnt ideal but apparently unavoidable) isnt the most logical thing to pick a large squad until the next round of games is over? it seems to be the selectors have made best of a less-than ideal situation! why pick a 12man squad now when there is every chance, for example, north gets a pair and Kwaja hits a double hundred? or if clarke isnt fit? or smith takes a 5fer? dont be so quick to criticise, the decison was a good one given the situation they were in.. however i do agree that picking doherty on the basis of one 4fer in an ODI is downright idiotic

  • Biggus on November 15, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    What a joke! They set up a big media event to tell us........NOTHING. One senses they planned this some time ago thinking the selections would have become clear by now. Why didn't they go the whole hog and just release a list of players under contract to Cricket Australia. The picture above is hilarious! I see a caption contest in the making. 'Andrew Hilditch tries out his newly acquired hypnotist skills-"Look into my eyes....you are Donald Bradman with the bat....Richie Benaud as a captain.....and Mark Taylor with the media.....".' New-Age cricket management!

  • Sanj747 on November 15, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    Peter spot on. Before we can have a new crop of players we need a new lot of selectors. We might end up like England did in the 1989 Ashes where there was a large number of players they chose. The only way things will change is as sadly as it sounds is if Australia continue to lose. Our cricket has lost it's bravado. Get rid of Hilditch and Cox for a start.

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  • Sanj747 on November 15, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    Peter spot on. Before we can have a new crop of players we need a new lot of selectors. We might end up like England did in the 1989 Ashes where there was a large number of players they chose. The only way things will change is as sadly as it sounds is if Australia continue to lose. Our cricket has lost it's bravado. Get rid of Hilditch and Cox for a start.

  • Biggus on November 15, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    What a joke! They set up a big media event to tell us........NOTHING. One senses they planned this some time ago thinking the selections would have become clear by now. Why didn't they go the whole hog and just release a list of players under contract to Cricket Australia. The picture above is hilarious! I see a caption contest in the making. 'Andrew Hilditch tries out his newly acquired hypnotist skills-"Look into my eyes....you are Donald Bradman with the bat....Richie Benaud as a captain.....and Mark Taylor with the media.....".' New-Age cricket management!

  • thewayitwass on November 15, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    Peter English, the australian basher at it again... once the selectors hands were forced into picking the squad early (something which obviously isnt ideal but apparently unavoidable) isnt the most logical thing to pick a large squad until the next round of games is over? it seems to be the selectors have made best of a less-than ideal situation! why pick a 12man squad now when there is every chance, for example, north gets a pair and Kwaja hits a double hundred? or if clarke isnt fit? or smith takes a 5fer? dont be so quick to criticise, the decison was a good one given the situation they were in.. however i do agree that picking doherty on the basis of one 4fer in an ODI is downright idiotic

  • dsig3 on November 15, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    Is this the worst ashes preparation by an Aussie side of all time? I have never in my 27 years seen us in this state. We are struggling to win a game of darts at the moment. If we hadnt choked in mohali things could have been so different. If X.Doherty plays for Aus I think we can safely say rock bottom has been reached. It cant get any worse can it?......

  • Ozcricketwriter on November 15, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    As the old adage goes "Never change a winning side". Unfortunately, Australia aren't winning. If you are on a massive losing streak, you make radical changes. I just pray that the selectors have some common sense and chop the players that aren't performing. The bare minimum 2 changes - less North and Hauritz - must be made if Australia are to have any chance at all in the Ashes. More than that, maybe also Hilfenhaus (who struggles in Australia), Hussey (slightly out of form, at least in tests) as well as Michael Clarke, Simon Katich and Doug Bollinger (all due to injury) may be useful too. We need radical changes. I am most happy that they have named Doherty in the squad. Even if he doesn't play, just being named in the squad shows that he is being thought of. Good reward for the top spinner in Australia for the past 2 1/2 years.

  • katandthat3 on November 15, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    Good article Peter. Just one point though, I think people are missing the point when they keep referring to Doherty's first class average. Are you suggesting that Doherty is the same bowler now as he was when he started his first class career? Well no he isn't and most spinners besides some of the freaks take a while to ply their trade so maybe taking his average from the last few years is more relevent. Glad he's getting recognised.This ineptitude from the top of CA through to the selection process is really grinding my gears, for such an important series, they really are trying to balls it up.

  • Iceborn999 on November 15, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    Total embarrassment. 3 Spinners picked in a squad for 1 game.... What the hell are these clowns doing honestly.

  • landl47 on November 15, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    If after losing series to England, India and Sri Lanka Ponting still thinks Australia are the #1 one-day side in the world, he needs to see a specialist about his perception of reality.

  • on November 15, 2010, 6:34 GMT

    England in disguise indeed! This is embarassing and speak of a PR disaster to boot, of making a public announcement of this team! The announcement of the team ten days in advance is a throw back to the days when Australian teams pretty much picked itself and guys lke Lehmann and Hodge, however good they were, just played Sheffied shiield cricket. Somehow Australia has not come to terms with its standing today and that is nowhere near the top contrary to what Ponting might say to rally his belaguered troops. Now is the time for Australia to accept that it is close to the bottom of the barrel and nearly where it was in 1985 and 86 when they built a nucleus for the future. The Ashes must be the last series with hangers on like Hussey, North and Hauritz. Australia has enough talent and young talent at that. Greg Chappel should focus on the future and not worry unduly about reputations or sentiment, otherwise Australia will continue to struggle. sridhar

  • Bigbanger666 on November 15, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    I'm a die hard Aussie but having watched India in the way they play their cricket nowadays I hat e to say that I think I am going to follow them from now onwards. I am totally bored with the way Aus cricket is going and I see plenty of Xfactor cricket with India. Go Harbi!!!