Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth December 10, 2010

North dropped, Michael Beer in Test squad


Marcus North, Doug Bollinger and Xavier Doherty have been axed, and Australia's selectors have sprung a major surprise by naming the little-known spinner Michael Beer in their 12-man squad for the Perth Test. Phillip Hughes has been picked to replace the injured Simon Katich, while Steven Smith is a strong chance to play after no other specialist batsman was named to replace North.

Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus are also likely to come back in to the side in what could be a four-man pace attack with Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, who the selectors considered the best of the bowlers in the Adelaide loss. But it's the inclusion of Beer that will raise eyebrows, especially with Nathan Hauritz fresh from a first-class century and five-wicket haul for New South Wales.

"Michael Beer replaces Xavier Doherty in the squad," Australia's chairman of selectors, Andrew Hilditch, said. "Michael is a left-arm orthodox spinner who has been very impressive at domestic level this year. He took wickets against England in the tour match earlier this summer and we expect he will bowl very well against the English on his home ground."

But Hilditch's comments seemingly ignore the fact that the WACA has been Beer's home ground for only a few months, after he moved from Victoria during the off-season. He has played only three first-class matches at the ground and in his five first-class appearances, all of which have taken place this summer, he has 16 wickets at 39.93 with a best of 3 for 39.

Beer, 26, is a left-arm orthodox bowler who plied his trade in Melbourne club cricket until the end of last season, when he moved to Western Australia in an attempt to launch his domestic career. Against the touring England side last month he 3 for 108 and 2 for 99, and the chances of him winning a place in the starting XI for the third Test must be slim.

One man who will definitely play at the WACA is Hughes, who is not in his best form but was still considered the most likely replacement for Katich, who will miss the rest of the series with an Achilles tendon injury. The pressure on Hughes will be increased after Australia altered the balance of their squad by leaving out the specialist batsman North.

North has had a disappointing start to the Ashes campaign and the strong batting form of Brad Haddin makes it likely that the wicketkeeper will move up to No. 6 with Smith at No. 7. Smith has played two Tests, against Pakistan in England in July, when he was chosen as a legspinner in the absence of the injured Hauritz, and if Beer doesn't play he will be the lead slow bowler in Perth.

"Steve Smith replaces Marcus North in the 12-man squad," Hilditch said. "This is obviously disappointing for Marcus who has played some outstanding Test innings for Australia but it was felt to be the right time to bring the exciting prospect Steve Smith into the Test team. Steve has already had success at international level and will also add to the bowling depth with his leg-spin bowling and dynamic fielding.

"Doug Bollinger has been omitted from the squad. Both Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus did not play in Adelaide but will be strongly considered for selection in the Perth Test match where conditions will suit them. Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle were the pick of our quicks at Adelaide Oval and these four make up the pace attack for the Perth Test match.

Squad Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin (wk), Steven Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Michael Beer, Ben Hilfenhaus.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on December 13, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    It's very clear from squad selection that Ausies r panicking............ they left out doherty..........n now Beer is in the Squad but m sure ........he ll also b dropped after this test................bring in Cameroon White...........he is the in form batsmen.........................

  • jessjess on December 13, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    Aussies havent batted well with only Hussey looking any good and watson and haddin looking ok England has bowled very well Swann and finn especially.Aussies havent bowled well either and England has batted very well... Aussies need a batsman( usman Khawaja) and they must play 4 seamers 5 if u include watson use clarke as a part time spinner as ther is no spin talent in aus except Haurits and they've scrapped him. England is looking a great side they must put ajmal shazhad in for broad because of injury otherwise same side. I am frm SA so i dont support aus or england but i definately think England are firm favourites and aus wont win a test. My aus side: S.Watson, P.Hughes ,R.Ponting, M.Clarke, M.Hussey , U.Khawaja , B.Haddin , R.Harris, C.Mckay, P.Siddle, B.Hilfenhaus. I could be wrong as i no quite a bit about aus cricket but not enough to select their side.

  • HostileJ on December 13, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    all I can say at Aus is clearly our (SA) past selection cockups has somehow stayed behind in our last tour down under.If anyone should be sacked its this hilditch fellow.Its clear he is desperate to get the right combo.The best spinner in Aus is Nathan Hauritz.he just made a 1st class ton which means there will be a much needed boost in the batting line-up.In my opinion they should back Mitch.a class bowler and if they select him it will boost his confidence.Quit stuffing around with newbies like doherty,beer and smith in an ashes the guys that has done it before for aus.Mitch and Hauritz each gives a boost to batting as team would look lik this:Watson,Hughes,Ponting,Clarke,Huss,Haddin,Mitch, Haury, Sids, Harro and Hilf.U need to take 20 wickets.Batting is strong enough...Watson must convert 50s to tons and punter must play his natural game.Only then will aus compete.I do however still back eng to take it.Cook,Trott and Pietersen will make biggies again.

  • mhsabir on December 12, 2010, 17:21 GMT

    This is actually a planned masterstroke - the Sheffield Shield matches start on Dec 17 & they want to play 4 Seamers & Smith in the Test & they did not want to unnecessarily drag in a good spinner to do the 12th man's duty leaving aside a crucial Sheffield Shield match - so they decided to pick him - his absense in the Sheffield Shield match is anyway not going to be felt

  • dummy4fb on December 12, 2010, 13:45 GMT

    Not a tear shed for North... Lol poor guy

  • OnlyKaps on December 12, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    This is the best news ever - Hilditch and Co are due for the axe!

  • LALITHKURUWITA on December 12, 2010, 8:05 GMT

    I just started practicing spin bowling: slow left arm, right arm googly and under arm straight. I also got secret weapon rather a new invented ball (not the carrom ball, doosra or slinger). I got a club match in 2 days and trying to get into NSW against QLD sheffield match starting on 18th. I hope I can play in the 5th TEST in Sydney because I live in Sydney and very much familiar with SCG pitch. I pray Mr Hildrith. I am not BEER, WHISKEY, RUM, or VODKA.

  • sri1ram on December 12, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    Come on Poms, smash the heck out of this 'newly concocted joke" and show those ozzies why they worthily deserve the Number 5 ranking for a long time to come! The "never say die" spirit, hehh, my foot. I would love to see Ponting's face when the ashes is lost by a margin of 2 wins!

  • Naren on December 12, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    I am thinking Australia had added Beer to the squad to take the pressure off of Steven Smith. Otherwise everybody will be talking about Smith instead. If this is the case, then they have succeeded in what they wanted. Great ploy maybe.

  • Naren on December 12, 2010, 5:19 GMT

    Pick McKay instead of Siddle and play 4 faster men and Smith at Perth. McKay played well in Perth in the other match with Starc.

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