The Ashes 2013-14 December 30, 2013

Alex Doolan added to Sydney Test squad


Tasmania batsman Alex Doolan could make his Test debut in Sydney after being added to Australia's squad. Injury concerns surrounding the No.3 Shane Watson and fast bowler Ryan Harris may lead to a significant shake-up of the side, with allrounder James Faulkner also in contention and fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile a chance to debut having been named in a 14-man squad for the Test.

Doug Bollinger, who was with the group in Perth and Melbourne as a standby player along with Coulter-Nile, has been released from the squad. Depending on the fitness of Watson, who hurt his groin on Boxing Day and appeared unable to run at full pace in the field at times, and Harris, who has ongoing issues with his knee and various other parts of his body, as many as three changes could be made to the side for Sydney.

The coach Darren Lehmann indicated after the Melbourne win that Watson's place in the side would need to be considered if he was unable to bowl, which could encourage the selectors to choose Faulkner ahead of him to provide a fifth bowling option. That scenario would likely require Doolan to come in to replace Watson at No.3, while George Bailey could also make way for Brad Haddin to move up to No.6 with Faulkner at No.7. Coulter-Nile for Harris could be a straight swap.

"With some players still being assessed by our medical team after four demanding Tests, we have decided to add Alex to ensure we have sufficient cover in our batting line-up should it be required," the national selector John Inverarity said.

"Alex is a talented player who came under strong consideration for selection ahead of the Ashes series after a string of solid performances in four day cricket for Tasmania at the start of this season, but also after an excellent finish to last season and we feel those performances warrant his inclusion in the squad of 14 for Sydney."

Doolan, 28, emerged as a Test contender last summer with 715 Sheffield Shield runs at 42.05, as well as an unbeaten 161 for Australia A against the touring South Africans at the SCG. This season, Doolan has made 391 Shield runs at 39.10, his only century having come against New South Wales at Blacktown Oval in November, when his 132 set up a successful chase.

An elegant No.3, Doolan honed his craft last summer by learning from Ricky Ponting in the Tasmania setup, especially during a pair of century partnerships. Bailey, the Tasmania captain who is under pressure to hold his Test place, said last season that during one of those century stands Doolan and Ponting "were just on another level" to the other batsmen in the match.

Australia squad Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Steven Smith, George Bailey, Alex Doolan, Brad Haddin (wk), James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Barnesy4444 on December 31, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    Rob Quiney averages 35 in FC cricket and Doolan only 39. If Watson can't play a better option would be to open with Rogers and Hughes and have Warner come in at 3. They are the 3 best top order batsmen in the country, Doolan will be a dead weight.

  • milepost on December 31, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    Bailey is a good player who came into the side in good form, I see no reason to drop him. Watson isn't a number 3 though he has been among the runs in the part 5 matches. If Watson isn't fit Doolan should play and bring in Faulkner for Harris. At the SCG we should expect a few overs from Clarke, Smith and Warner too.

  • zenboomerang on December 31, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    kensohatter - "Haddin is in form and like Gilly should bat 6"

    You are joking aren't you or are you new to cricket?... Gilly played as a no.7 for nearly all his Test career - only time I can remember him at no.6 was in a Bangalesh Test series when we had 2 spinners & 3 seamers around 2006 from memory & Dizzy made a 201* in one game...

    As for Bailey, well give him the chance that Steve Waugh (bat average @12.5 after 5 Tests) & others were given, also he's only 31 so could conceivably play for another 5-6 years. He is also a good captain & really knows how to look after team mates as did the previous Tas captain Marsh & Tassies record under both of them has been great considering how small their population is. Finally Haddin & Rogers wont see out the next 2 years, while Clarke & Watto are older than Bailey & both injury prone with maybe only another 2-3 years left in them - time will tell on all...

  • cricketsubh on December 31, 2013, 4:19 GMT

    Dolan selection is surprising be coz he score just 390 runs avg at 39 I think selector can give a chance to younger player like burns,Maddison,lyne rather then 28 year Dolan

  • HowdyRowdy on December 31, 2013, 2:02 GMT

    To the Phil Hughes cheer squad who ask what he to do to get the nod from the selectors... To the Phil Hughes cheer squad who ask what he to do to get the nod from the selectors...

    Quite simple really, all he has to do is to reappear in a parallel universe where his Test average is way better than the low thirties after twenty six matches (32.65 to be precise) and several opportunities. It would also be handy if his inability to cope with moving/spinning/steeply bouncing deliveries is overlooked in this parallel universe.

    Finally, he should also be better than an honest trier in the field when he reappears.

    So, pretty simple really!

  • Chris_P on December 31, 2013, 0:59 GMT

    What worries me, & I'll be watching this season, is that just about all players who were in red hot FC form going into the BBL last season returned 7 weeks later to struggle after losing momentum. I really hope it's a one-off & not a dangerous trend. We all have differing opinions although collectively we all want a strong national side. I try to watch as many Shield games as possible when I can to get an idea of how the players perform. I see nearly all of NSW's so have a better idea on them than other sides, but Doolan has always shown a solid technique & let's not forget, he has batted half his games on seaming tracks of past Hobart strips. I feel for Hughes, he has the talent, just hope he keeps it going. Still think, though, it will be an unchanged XI.

  • VivGilchrist on December 30, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    Let me get this straight..... A player who is averaging 41 in the Test series is at risk of being dropped because he can't bowl and replaced by a guy who is averaging 39 in the Shield who doesn't bowl?

    ....I don't get it.

  • Cricmaths123 on December 30, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    I have seen that there are lots of promising, young cricketers in the country and all of them can be in the test team. So Australia can organize a tour of Zimbabwe or Bangladesh and then they can test their bench strength players like Hughes, Doolan, Lynn, Maddinson, Bird, Sayers, Cutting etc.

  • ScottStevo on December 30, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    @kensohatter, here are my solutions! If both fit - both play. If Watson is fit and Harris not, then we bring in anyone other than NCN, who isn't anywhere near a test match bowler. I'd take Bird if he's fit; then any other contender other than NCN - who without being selected already had a shocker on this tour as he could've taken Pietersen out completely had he not made a hash of that catch he carried over for 6. If neither Watson nor Harris is fit then we bring in Hughes at 3 and another bowler (see above) or we see SOK if Sydney is a turner. If Watson isn't fit and Harris is, we play Harris then select Hughes @3. However, in this scenario, I think we'll look to cover Harris with a 5th and Bailey might lose out to Faulkner, but I'd rather see SS/MC/DW as relief and keep our top 7 bats. If Watson can bat but can't bowl and Harris is fit, Watson at 3 with relief from part time spinners.

  • ScottStevo on December 30, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    @kensohatter, for starters, there's no point blooding for the future and rotating from a winning side by bringing in players that 1. aren't test calibre (which is all 3 of those you mention) 2. most likely aren't our future. On top of which, why on Earth would we want to halt the momentum we have by resting/rotating players? That experiment has already failed - miserably too; and moreover, potentially ruining the careers of promising players like Hughes, Khawaja and Starc. Dropping players ruins confidence levels. If Harris and Watson are fit, then Harris and Watson should play and the XI are unchanged. Harris himself has stated that the stopping and starting has caused him more damage than just playing on. At his age, he should play every test match that he's fit to play. We owe him that much.

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