England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval August 20, 2013

Harden up, Australia

James Faulkner will be Australia's 17th player in this Ashes - the equal most for them away from home - and it comes as no surprise that so much uncertainty surrounds selection
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Darren Lehmann and Rod Marsh have said not a word in public about their reasons for choosing James Faulkner for the final Ashes Test. But despite their silence, their message is loud and clear. This is a team that needs to harden up. Is it any wonder, really? Soft cricket no more has a place in the world of Marsh and Lehmann than soft drinks. They played with an edge so hard that Hot Spot could have detected it through three layers of silicone tape.

It was left to the captain Michael Clarke, who is no longer a selector, to explain the choice on Tuesday. Notably, Clarke used the word "tough" or "toughness" at least three times to describe Faulkner and the qualities he would bring to the side. Even more telling was his final, one-word answer. When asked if this toughness had been missing from the team on this tour, Clarke said, with apparent reluctance: "Maybe".

There are times when "maybe" means no, sometimes it means "I don't know". Here it meant yes, for otherwise no captain would miss a chance to defend the character of his players. Australia's capitulation on the fourth afternoon at Chester-le-Street was an example of such fragility, of throwing wickets and a game away. It was not the only one on this tour, but that crazy day has cost Usman Khawaja his place.

Khawaja's dismissal in what should have been a gettable chase was tame, just a prod at Graeme Swann, who straightened the ball and struck Khawaja on the pad in front of the stumps. He has now been dropped three times from the Test team, always having shown hints of his promise but failing to display any more. Khawaja's talent has never been in question but his intensity - and intent - has been a constant question-mark.

Faulkner has effectively replaced Khawaja in the side, though not in the same position. It was revealing that when he was picked in the squad, Faulkner was described by national selector John Inverarity as "a very competitive cricketer who gets things done". The logical extension of Inverarity's statement was that there were other players who lack the same spirit, who despite their ability, don't get things done.

By gambling on Faulkner at The Oval, the selectors have backed tenacity over talent. That is not to say that Faulkner lacks skill - far from it, in fact, for he has collected 111 Sheffield Shield wickets in the past three seasons and scored 444 runs last summer. But his bowling alone would not force him above Ryan Harris or Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc or Jackson Bird. Neither would his batting earn him a place on its own.

But his "overall package", as Clarke described it, is appealing. Of course, the same has been said of others in recent times. Glenn Maxwell and Moises Henriques both played on this year's disastrous tour of India and neither would have made it for their batting or bowling alone. Both batted at No.7 in that series, behind a wicketkeeper at No.6. So did Mitchell Johnson against Sri Lanka at the SCG in January. None have lasted in the role.

Really, it should be no great surprise that Australia have ended up imbalanced again, for in five of their nine Tests so far this year they have batted the gloveman, either Matthew Wade or Brad Haddin, at No.6. It is not the result of needing more bowlers, but of having so few batsmen who have stood up. Clarke said this week that he was not one for statistics, but he knew no Australia batsman had made a Test double-hundred away from home since Jason Gillespie.

Forget double-hundreds, centuries would be enough. This year, only Clarke, Chris Rogers and Wade have scored Test tons for Australia. If the batsmen keep failing, the selectors feel they might as well pick an allrounder. They have shown it again and again. And again. Still, it was surprising that Faulkner was preferred over Matthew Wade, whose two Test centuries have come in winning causes. And Wade, like Faulkner, is tough.

"I bring a bit of aggression and a competitive streak," Faulkner said on Tuesday. "That's how I play my cricket and that's how I enjoy playing the game, get in the contest and soak it up a bit, get involved."

It is not surprising that Faulkner has that approach, for otherwise he could not have survived when playing against grown men as a young teenager in Launceston club cricket. He made his first-class debut at 18 and was immersed in Tasmania's cricket culture, generally considered the best in Australia over the past few years. Faulkner has been Tasmania's player of the year for the past three seasons and has been a key performer in three straight Shield finals.

In 2010-11 he scored 71 and took four wickets in Tasmania's win over New South Wales, in 2011-12 he collected five wickets in a tight loss to Queensland, and in 2012-13 he scored 46 and 89 against a Queensland attack led by a fired-up Ryan Harris, and also picked up four wickets of his own in the victory. In two of his three Ryobi Cup final appearances he has completed four-wicket hauls. He is, the selectors hope, the kind of man who stands up when it matters.

Of course, it is easier to stand up when you're not worried about anyone cutting you down. Faulkner's inclusion and the consequent reshuffle of the batting order - Shane Watson will bat at first drop - means that not since the first two Tests of the tour of India have Australia sent in the same top six in the same order for two consecutive Tests. The selectors do not know their best XI or what order to bat them.

Australia used 16 players in the series in India this year; that they will use 17 in this Ashes series - an equal Australian record for any away tour - is an indictment on the performance of the players, but also on the lack of trust in them shown by the selectors. The only other time Australia have used so many in an away series was in 1983-84 in the West Indies, when they lost 3-0.

Here, Faulkner was not considered in the best team at the start of this series, for Watson was the allrounder and Phillip Hughes, Ed Cowan and Khawaja were all options to fill out the top six. Effectively, the selectors seem now to believe none of those men, nor Wade, are good enough. For a team in desperate need of runs, it is a worryingly desperate situation.

Choosing your men and sticking with them has its merits. So does playing hard cricket. And if Faulkner succeeds, it may just open up a whole new criteria for John Inverarity's panel to judge players by for the home Ashes.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY _Australian_ on | August 21, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Before the series I thought Australia might be better to go with this type of line up. Whilst I don't necessarily agree with the exact side selected, I did not see the point in playing 6 batsmen when really Australia don't have 6 decent batsmen. Which has shown in the series. Although on paper an allrounder or bowler who can bat seems to put us more short on the batting side of things, in reality they would probably perform just as well as our 6th batsmen. But the added depth to the bowling stocks that will surely place more pressure on opposition batsman could be an advantage. An interesting and non traditional tactic which I will be keen to see in effect.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | August 22, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    Apart from his undoubted potential and mongrel quality (another big fan of Faulkner here, and not just because he's from my former home town) I think the other side of his selection is that Harris is due for a breakdown any time soon! Watson too. Having another bowler who can bat means there can be less of a load placed on Harris and Watson. Probably not the primary reason, of course, but you'd think it'd have to be at the back of the selectors' minds. At any rate, looking forward to seeing him with bat, ball, and in the field in the next few days. Grab your opportunity and make the most of it, buddy!

  • POSTED BY fward2046 on | August 22, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    If they were serious about toughness, Katich would never have been dropped. He might have been the captain.

  • POSTED BY on | August 22, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Why not.. Khawaja with all the talent in the world couldn't make it count when it really mattered. Unfortunately for him at this level means that you will only get a few cracks to impress, especially with guys like Hughes and Cowan waiting in the wings. Faulkner is a strange inclusion the team but with nothing to lose in the test series I think it's worth a shot.

  • POSTED BY Guruprasad.S on | August 21, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    The simple fact is that Australia does not have great quality in their ranks. This 'toughness' nonsense is just a way of justifying their team selections. Did Inverarity, Clarke and Lehmann not know earlier that Faulkner was a 'tough' guy' earlier? They are chopping and changing more in hope rather in reason. Cowan, Hughes and Khawaja are all done now. Among bowlers, only Siddle and Harris seem to be guaranteed their places. They dropped Agar and Starc for 2nd test, brought in Bird for fourth, and now they have dropped Bird for Faulkner. It is better to stick to a group of players and give them chances (say, 3-5 matches in a row), rather than play musical chairs. Lehmann's charisma has now worn out and his lack of experience in coaching is showing up.

  • POSTED BY on | August 21, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    mediocre team, mediocre palyers. Not much of a choice do Aussies have

  • POSTED BY ihaq1 on | August 21, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    i think a stronger middle is very important when teh top usually crumbles...the only consistent batsman that australia has is rogers...in india australia tried teh wade middle order ineffectively...if australia go in without harris and siddle than they will need faulkner, starc anyway...they must rely on smith and lyon as frontline bowlers and watson as backup...that way they can have six batsmen, wicketkeeper and four bowlers...that australia seem to crumble at crucial times shows that they do not have strong leadership which is necessary for team confidence...Lehman should drop politics as a strategy and focus on removing batting flaws...england is usually able to handle a political confrontation better...ricky ponting even when he was batting poorly and australia were crumbling was always a captain who stoodup to tide...micheal clarke risks being overtaken by teh tidal wave without as much as whimper...a captain must front as a captain...no matter what his straartegy and tactics

  • POSTED BY on | August 21, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    First up, I'll admit bias in stating that I rate Faulkner highly and think he should have played earlier in the series. However, as much as the media is going on about this NOT being a dead-rubber, I wouldn't read too much into this test for the following: Eng have won the series already, so for them it's all about putting the icing on the cake. A loss for them (even a draw) will simply remind them of what they need to focus upon when they come to Oz. They certainly won't feel like Aus has any momentum when the travel down their in 3mths time! Aus can use this test to try things out - deep down they know they've been a lot closer to Eng than the results suggest and for them it's about fine-tuning things. They will also be thinking that the series in Oz will be totally different (different conditions, home crowd, greater sense of comfort). And finally, they will believe that this series will count for nothing if they win the Ashes at home - it's 3yrs until they're up for grabs again!

  • POSTED BY ravi_hari on | August 21, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    Aussies have nothing to loose. 3-0, 4-0, 3-1 it does not make any difference. They have already lost the series and the urn. This test was the best opportunity to test the bench strength. I thought Wade and Faulkner should have come in for Khawaja and Harris and Starc for Bird. That would have given enough balance to the side. Wade has been more effective with the bat than Haddin. He could have done much better than Khawaja, Hughes and Cowan. He along with Faulkner would have brought back the fighting spirit in the team. The present team has only 3 batters - Warner, Rogers, Clarke. That is a huge risk. If they go early the side will fold up under 100. The only hope is that Starc with the help of others might take the score to 200. However, if one of the three batters get a big score then Aussies will be looking at 400+. Watson is probably playing his last test. If he scores big he will get one more chance otherwise this is the end for him. Hope JF brings luck to the side and they win

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | August 21, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    cant fathom whats happening anymore, not because Faulkner is playing because hes a superstar and should be the next captaoin, but because usman gets dropped yet somehow smith, haddin and Watson all of whom are directly responsible for Australia losing the series are still getting picked. actually what am I talking about, Australia never came to try and win the series. when you pick brad haddin as your keeper and vice captain before the series, youre only going to lose. australias batting team for the summer should be: maddinson, warner, khawaja, Clarke, hughes, mitch marsh/Faulkner, wade.

  • POSTED BY _Australian_ on | August 21, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    Before the series I thought Australia might be better to go with this type of line up. Whilst I don't necessarily agree with the exact side selected, I did not see the point in playing 6 batsmen when really Australia don't have 6 decent batsmen. Which has shown in the series. Although on paper an allrounder or bowler who can bat seems to put us more short on the batting side of things, in reality they would probably perform just as well as our 6th batsmen. But the added depth to the bowling stocks that will surely place more pressure on opposition batsman could be an advantage. An interesting and non traditional tactic which I will be keen to see in effect.

  • POSTED BY smudgeon on | August 22, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    Apart from his undoubted potential and mongrel quality (another big fan of Faulkner here, and not just because he's from my former home town) I think the other side of his selection is that Harris is due for a breakdown any time soon! Watson too. Having another bowler who can bat means there can be less of a load placed on Harris and Watson. Probably not the primary reason, of course, but you'd think it'd have to be at the back of the selectors' minds. At any rate, looking forward to seeing him with bat, ball, and in the field in the next few days. Grab your opportunity and make the most of it, buddy!

  • POSTED BY fward2046 on | August 22, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    If they were serious about toughness, Katich would never have been dropped. He might have been the captain.

  • POSTED BY on | August 22, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Why not.. Khawaja with all the talent in the world couldn't make it count when it really mattered. Unfortunately for him at this level means that you will only get a few cracks to impress, especially with guys like Hughes and Cowan waiting in the wings. Faulkner is a strange inclusion the team but with nothing to lose in the test series I think it's worth a shot.

  • POSTED BY Guruprasad.S on | August 21, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    The simple fact is that Australia does not have great quality in their ranks. This 'toughness' nonsense is just a way of justifying their team selections. Did Inverarity, Clarke and Lehmann not know earlier that Faulkner was a 'tough' guy' earlier? They are chopping and changing more in hope rather in reason. Cowan, Hughes and Khawaja are all done now. Among bowlers, only Siddle and Harris seem to be guaranteed their places. They dropped Agar and Starc for 2nd test, brought in Bird for fourth, and now they have dropped Bird for Faulkner. It is better to stick to a group of players and give them chances (say, 3-5 matches in a row), rather than play musical chairs. Lehmann's charisma has now worn out and his lack of experience in coaching is showing up.

  • POSTED BY on | August 21, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    mediocre team, mediocre palyers. Not much of a choice do Aussies have

  • POSTED BY ihaq1 on | August 21, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    i think a stronger middle is very important when teh top usually crumbles...the only consistent batsman that australia has is rogers...in india australia tried teh wade middle order ineffectively...if australia go in without harris and siddle than they will need faulkner, starc anyway...they must rely on smith and lyon as frontline bowlers and watson as backup...that way they can have six batsmen, wicketkeeper and four bowlers...that australia seem to crumble at crucial times shows that they do not have strong leadership which is necessary for team confidence...Lehman should drop politics as a strategy and focus on removing batting flaws...england is usually able to handle a political confrontation better...ricky ponting even when he was batting poorly and australia were crumbling was always a captain who stoodup to tide...micheal clarke risks being overtaken by teh tidal wave without as much as whimper...a captain must front as a captain...no matter what his straartegy and tactics

  • POSTED BY on | August 21, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    First up, I'll admit bias in stating that I rate Faulkner highly and think he should have played earlier in the series. However, as much as the media is going on about this NOT being a dead-rubber, I wouldn't read too much into this test for the following: Eng have won the series already, so for them it's all about putting the icing on the cake. A loss for them (even a draw) will simply remind them of what they need to focus upon when they come to Oz. They certainly won't feel like Aus has any momentum when the travel down their in 3mths time! Aus can use this test to try things out - deep down they know they've been a lot closer to Eng than the results suggest and for them it's about fine-tuning things. They will also be thinking that the series in Oz will be totally different (different conditions, home crowd, greater sense of comfort). And finally, they will believe that this series will count for nothing if they win the Ashes at home - it's 3yrs until they're up for grabs again!

  • POSTED BY ravi_hari on | August 21, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    Aussies have nothing to loose. 3-0, 4-0, 3-1 it does not make any difference. They have already lost the series and the urn. This test was the best opportunity to test the bench strength. I thought Wade and Faulkner should have come in for Khawaja and Harris and Starc for Bird. That would have given enough balance to the side. Wade has been more effective with the bat than Haddin. He could have done much better than Khawaja, Hughes and Cowan. He along with Faulkner would have brought back the fighting spirit in the team. The present team has only 3 batters - Warner, Rogers, Clarke. That is a huge risk. If they go early the side will fold up under 100. The only hope is that Starc with the help of others might take the score to 200. However, if one of the three batters get a big score then Aussies will be looking at 400+. Watson is probably playing his last test. If he scores big he will get one more chance otherwise this is the end for him. Hope JF brings luck to the side and they win

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | August 21, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    cant fathom whats happening anymore, not because Faulkner is playing because hes a superstar and should be the next captaoin, but because usman gets dropped yet somehow smith, haddin and Watson all of whom are directly responsible for Australia losing the series are still getting picked. actually what am I talking about, Australia never came to try and win the series. when you pick brad haddin as your keeper and vice captain before the series, youre only going to lose. australias batting team for the summer should be: maddinson, warner, khawaja, Clarke, hughes, mitch marsh/Faulkner, wade.

  • POSTED BY Bloody_Hell on | August 21, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    Faulkner has a place. The selectors think his 30-40 at 7 is more valuable than the 3 scored at first drop by either Hughes or Khawaja...rightly so!

    Having Warner, Smith and Faulkner in the same team lifts Australia's fielding standard to a high level.

  • POSTED BY GeoffreysMother on | August 21, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    Rubbish. If this was the quality they were looking for then Faulkner should have played much earlier. If Khawaja is 'too soft' then he should never have played ( and remember Lehmann is his state coach so he should know him). It just smacks of desperate selection and nothing more. If Australia keep chopping and changing their side then no one feels secure and they will therefore continue to cave in in pressure situations, like at Durham. Contrast Khawaja's treatment to that of Bairstow's. Bairstow has been backed and has visibly improved - and under the pressure of the cameras and media of an Ashes series. Khawaja has been discarded yet again and it is difficult to see how he can come back from this. England develop a test player of the future, Australia discard one ( with not many alternatives waiting in the wings).

  • POSTED BY Talalthegreat on | August 21, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    I think faulkner had to play. Avg 30 as batsman and 23 as bowler. That is great for an all-rounder. he can bat at 7 as starc, siddle and harrris can also bat well

  • POSTED BY BillyLightfoot on | August 21, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    I don't think it is a particularly good selection. We certainly have enough bowlers and there are other batsman better than Faulkner who only averages 30 at first class level. Maybe they are testing him out as an all-rounder in preparation of dropping Watson for the home series - otherwise it seems ridiculous.

  • POSTED BY MinusZero on | August 21, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    Australia dont need allrounders, they need the best batsmen and best bowlers.

  • POSTED BY on | August 21, 2013, 5:23 GMT

    Australia's selection process baffles me. it's a dead rubber and they are debuting another bowling 'all-rounder' at the expense of a batsmen? keep Khawaja, bring back Hughes, give them more time in the middle at this level. leave the bowlers unchanged (or at least being in another spinner for the Oval). drop Watson if anyone but if they do play him, well he's supposed to be an allrounder so bowl him. Clarke can bowl, Warner can bowl, Smith can bowl. they're mad ;)

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | August 21, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    I agree, starting with Clarke. He smiles and laughs waay to much for an Aussie captain. He needs to start being harder and rougher like AB, Waugh, Ponting etc. Same goes for some of the younger players, Hughes, Ussie in particular. Get some mongrel boys, Watto may be a pretty boy but he shows a bit more mongrel than clarke.

  • POSTED BY Dangertroy on | August 21, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    I disagree that he doesn't warrant a place on his bowling alone - He has 132 wickets @ 22.87. Tasmania don't play him as an allrounder, they play him as a bowler. The shield final was also a draw, not a victory for Tasmania. He has impressed so far in his limited overs matches, and could potentially be an important bowler for Australia in tests. But he's not going to strengthen the batting being picked as an allrounder, he will only strengthen the batting picked as a bowler. otherwise he is displacing a batsman, although currently he is likely to average the same amount of runs as anyone else on tour.

    How does this sound for an Australian test 11 - Silk, Cowan, Cosgrove, Doolan, Ponting, Bailey, Paine, Faulkner, Butterworth, Bird, Hilfenhaus/Krezja/Doherty?

    Oh wait - thats the Tasmanian 11... But for a decent spinner, theres an 11 that could represent the country. Ok, Ponting has retired, so I guess we could make room for Clarke...

  • POSTED BY Liquefierrrr on | August 21, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    Faulkner's FC stats (30 with the bat, 22 with the ball) are excellent. His exposure at international cricket has so far been a very solid success.

    But once more, as an Australian, I hope that people aren't hoping that Faulkner will snare 8 wickets and score 75 runs in this test. He may do, he may even do more than that, however he's a young kid making his Test debut at the very back-end of a dreadful, weak and disturbing Ashes campaign against a very hungry, very professional and stubborn England side on the brink of making history.

    I have no issue with Faulkner playing. Bird looked awful for most of the last match and Khawaja, flowing and beautiful technique aside, has a weakness in him that needs strengthening. A pretty 20 is just that, and in the context of this team and this series means nil.

    Faulkner has fire, backbone and success at the highest level. He has every right to be here and may turn into a huge asset. But he needs time, investment and patience. He's 23 years old.

  • POSTED BY crikkfan on | August 21, 2013, 2:51 GMT

    This is a perfect example of an article which raises more questions than answers - and does not (conveniently) have a view point if the decision is a good or a bad one! I guess we have to wait for the Oval test to know ..

  • POSTED BY on | August 21, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    Of the three times Khawaja has been dropped, the longest run of consecutive matches he has had leading up to being dropped is 3 matches (in this series). Still think he is being hard done by. Hopefully, he can use the experience as a wake up call to fight for his place come the next Ashes series (though there isn't any test cricket between now and then, he'll have a chance in the A games). Still think he and Hughes are Australia's best young batsmen for the near future

  • POSTED BY Big_Maxy_Walker on | August 21, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    I would have kept Bird. He would have been better in the next game and dropped Watson. His bowling was keeping him in the side and now he is not bowling, so that cancels him out. Haddin is so inconsistent and old, not worth it. Rogers, Warner, Hughes, Clarke, Usman, Smith, Wade, Starc, Siddle, Lyon, Bird. Harris needs a rest, god forbid he breaks down long term in a dead rubber.

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | August 21, 2013, 1:05 GMT

    Watson last 7 tests: 315 runs at 22. He's "undroppable".

    Warner last 5 tests: 256 runs at 25. He's "indespensible".

    Smith last 6 tests: 361 runs at 30. He's "the future".

    Hughes last 4 tests: 203 runs at 29. He's "unselectable" despite averaging better than two of these and the same as Smith in tests recently.

  • POSTED BY wellrounded87 on | August 21, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    I think Wade was a better option. He also can bowl with pretty good pace too and with Watson in the side as a bowling all rounder why not give Wade another go.

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | August 21, 2013, 0:45 GMT

    Can Faulkner succeed? Put it this way - the rejected alternatives have set a low bar.

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | August 21, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    The selectors are behaving like panicked little school girls but then expect young batsmen to dominate every innings?

    Hughes should be in that top 3 he is an opening batsman. He nearly won the first test and would have scored a century if he hadn't run out of partners. Averaging 62 this tour, 56 last Shield season he is the best young bat in the country by far.

    Do they seriously think Hughes will become a better batsman by constantly dropping him? If that's the case then why is Watson or Smith not dropped, it may make them better batsmen.

    Which batsmen do the selectors think will step up in the return Ashes series? Faulkner?

  • POSTED BY HatsforBats on | August 21, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    If the selectors were serious they would drop Watson and give the all-rounders spot to Faulkner. Wade is the better batsman but we don't need another left hander for Swann to play with. If the oval is taking spin having Starc & Faulkner creating some rough will be very useful for Lyon, which I think has played a small part in his selection. Certainly his competitiveness is something lacking in the team, and Khawaja plays with all the intensity of a bored teenager rather than a grown man playing for his country (some of his dismissals this series have been pathetic). I'm happy for Khawaja's dropping to be permanent until he learns his Shakespeare: "more matter, with less art".

  • POSTED BY dsig3 on | August 21, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    Faulkner is not the answer here. You need good test players not T20 specialists to win test matches consistently. Like it or not Khawaja and Hughes are our best performing domestic batsmen. We have to stick with these guys or wait for someone better to come through our system. Constantly trying to change the team to find the magic bullet is going to hurt us.

  • POSTED BY fward2046 on | August 21, 2013, 0:07 GMT

    If Australia really wanted hardness, wouldn't Katich be playing (or, captain)?

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | August 21, 2013, 0:01 GMT

    We are weak in the batting but we replace Phil Hughes with someone who can't bat as well but has 'tenacity'. You mean like the tenacity that Phil Hughes showed with his intelligent 81*

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    we used 17 in the Windies in 83-4 because of injury.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | August 20, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    As I wrote up in the article about Faulkner, this guy doesn't know about soft options. I think his attitude is a little over the top (think Merv Hughes) but his passion is unquestioned for any team he plays for (ask Pune fans). He has an impressive record on a pitch in Hobart that is distinctively more English in nature than Aussie (except for the Shield Final). I feel for Khawaja, he is a much better long term prospect than Watson who most likely won't bowl, hence Faulkner's inclusion.

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    If I was an Australian batsman in a state team, I would be spending all my time in the nets at the moment to make sure I get a flying start to the new season. Never in my living memory (and I am 48) has the Australian team been so open for selection. A bit of hard work now could pay off in an international career as I think Lehmann will want to put his own stamp on the team.

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    If James Faulkner is so tough why the hell was he 17th or 18th in the Aussie pecking order as selected by Clarke and Lehmann and the selectors at the outset.

    This is more panic dressed up in silly phrases.

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2013, 20:39 GMT

    If James Faulkner is so tough why the hell was he 17th or 18th in the Aussie pecking order as selected by Clarke and Lehmann and the selectors at the outset.

    This is more panic dressed up in silly phrases.

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    If I was an Australian batsman in a state team, I would be spending all my time in the nets at the moment to make sure I get a flying start to the new season. Never in my living memory (and I am 48) has the Australian team been so open for selection. A bit of hard work now could pay off in an international career as I think Lehmann will want to put his own stamp on the team.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | August 20, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    As I wrote up in the article about Faulkner, this guy doesn't know about soft options. I think his attitude is a little over the top (think Merv Hughes) but his passion is unquestioned for any team he plays for (ask Pune fans). He has an impressive record on a pitch in Hobart that is distinctively more English in nature than Aussie (except for the Shield Final). I feel for Khawaja, he is a much better long term prospect than Watson who most likely won't bowl, hence Faulkner's inclusion.

  • POSTED BY on | August 20, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    we used 17 in the Windies in 83-4 because of injury.

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | August 21, 2013, 0:01 GMT

    We are weak in the batting but we replace Phil Hughes with someone who can't bat as well but has 'tenacity'. You mean like the tenacity that Phil Hughes showed with his intelligent 81*

  • POSTED BY fward2046 on | August 21, 2013, 0:07 GMT

    If Australia really wanted hardness, wouldn't Katich be playing (or, captain)?

  • POSTED BY dsig3 on | August 21, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    Faulkner is not the answer here. You need good test players not T20 specialists to win test matches consistently. Like it or not Khawaja and Hughes are our best performing domestic batsmen. We have to stick with these guys or wait for someone better to come through our system. Constantly trying to change the team to find the magic bullet is going to hurt us.

  • POSTED BY HatsforBats on | August 21, 2013, 0:19 GMT

    If the selectors were serious they would drop Watson and give the all-rounders spot to Faulkner. Wade is the better batsman but we don't need another left hander for Swann to play with. If the oval is taking spin having Starc & Faulkner creating some rough will be very useful for Lyon, which I think has played a small part in his selection. Certainly his competitiveness is something lacking in the team, and Khawaja plays with all the intensity of a bored teenager rather than a grown man playing for his country (some of his dismissals this series have been pathetic). I'm happy for Khawaja's dropping to be permanent until he learns his Shakespeare: "more matter, with less art".

  • POSTED BY Barnesy4444 on | August 21, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    The selectors are behaving like panicked little school girls but then expect young batsmen to dominate every innings?

    Hughes should be in that top 3 he is an opening batsman. He nearly won the first test and would have scored a century if he hadn't run out of partners. Averaging 62 this tour, 56 last Shield season he is the best young bat in the country by far.

    Do they seriously think Hughes will become a better batsman by constantly dropping him? If that's the case then why is Watson or Smith not dropped, it may make them better batsmen.

    Which batsmen do the selectors think will step up in the return Ashes series? Faulkner?

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | August 21, 2013, 0:45 GMT

    Can Faulkner succeed? Put it this way - the rejected alternatives have set a low bar.