Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014 August 20, 2014

Clarke considers opening options

49

Michael Clarke believes Phillip Hughes is a strong contender to open the batting with Aaron Finch in Zimbabwe after his remarkable form for Australia A over the winter. The Australians flew out for the one-day tri-series with South Africa and Zimbabwe on Wednesday morning, and they did so without regular top-order batsmen David Warner, Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh.

Watson rolled his ankle at training on Saturday and Marsh is recovering from elbow surgery, while Warner is staying at home to prepare for the birth of his first child. The Australians played a practice match against Queensland in Brisbane on Tuesday and Warner, guest-starring for the Bulls, crunched 84 off 60 deliveries, while his likely World Cup opening partner, Finch, made 90 from 66.

But Hughes was also in the runs, scoring 57 from 41 deliveries to continue his strong form which included first-class scores of 100 not out and 243 not out, as well as an unbeaten 202 in a one-day game, all for Australia A over the past six weeks. His late inclusion in the ODI squad came only because of Watson's injury, and Clarke said he could yet open with Finch in Zimbabwe.

"I still think we've got options," Clarke told reporters at Sydney airport before departing. "Obviously we've got Hughes, he's in a purple patch at the moment, I don't think it's possible to have a better pre-season than what he's done. We've got Finchy who batted beautifully yesterday and has opened the batting for us.

"Hadds has opened the batting for us and Brad Haddin's numbers are very good as a one-day opener. He certainly gives us an option there. We will work out what we think is the best line-up for the conditions and the opposition we are playing and I think the wicket determines that more than anything else."

Haddin's last stint as an opener in Australia's one-day team came over 18 months from early 2010 to 2011, when he and Watson formed the preferred pair. They were the incumbents during the 2011 World Cup and Haddin's form during that tournament was strong - he was Australia's top scorer with 332 runs at 55.33, including four half-centuries.

Hughes has switched between opening and No.3 during his short ODI career and it would be surprising if he was not given a chance during the Zimbabwe series, given the lack of specialist batsmen in Australia's squad. The touring party is heavy on all-round options and in the absence of Watson, opportunities will be presented to several men.

"I think they'll see it as an opportunity to be a part of our one-day team, to try and get their foot in the door and cement their spot -- make it hard for the players that aren't on this tour to get back into the team," Clarke said. "That's how I'd like them to see it. Unfortunately there are only 11 spots and we've probably got 20 players in my opinion who are ready to be a part of that XI. Now it comes down to consistent performance.

"Some guys aren't available for selection but it's exciting for people like Mitch Marsh, Smithy comes into our one-day team, Phil Hughes gets an opportunity, Kane Richardson, Ben Cutting. There are a number of guys who have been given a chance, which is exciting. It's a good chance for them to grab their opportunity.

"The reason you train so hard and perform so well in first class cricket, your goal is to represent Australia so when you get this chance you've got to make the most of it. It's going to be a tough series. The conditions in Zimbabwe will be tough, the wickets will be quite slow, there's generally a little bit of spin there as well so I think we're in for a tough series and I'm pretty sure these young guys will stand up."

Australia's first match in the tri-series is against Zimbabwe in Harare on Monday next week.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peterincanada on August 22, 2014, 15:30 GMT

    @Dashgar Hughes FC average is 46 Finch is 29.At ODI Hughes has a slightjy higher average Finch has the superior SR 92 to 75. The numbers do not justify the statement. As Hyclass and others have stated that if Hughes had not been victimized by no nothing idiots who can say how much better his stats would be.

  • Shaggy076 on August 22, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    Dashgar - Warner hasn't toured Zimbabwe due to imminent father hood that is why Hughes has been given a chance.

  • Dashgar on August 22, 2014, 1:28 GMT

    Surely got to open with Finch and Warner. Hughes has made runs but those two are a class above him.

  • on August 21, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    If Australia lose.. this series.. then its no big deal.. if Australia win this..then too its no big deal, what they should really look to do, is build their back up strength, and that's why for the life of me I can't understand what.. Johnson.. Haddin.. Clarke are doing on this tour. Apart from a having a match winning spinner.. and a decent death bowler.. Aus have most bases covered with their first choice 11.. but just picture this.. heading into the world cup.. Haddin breaks his finger.. or Johnson or Clarke breakdown.. then who is there to fill the void they would leave?

    In an ideal world Warner and Hughes would open and Finch would be your #3.. but Australian selectors have this habit of over complicating things.. they have an amazing talent pool to choose from.. and going back to the likes of Marsh, Watson.. Doolan..Cowan.. is like a kick on the teeth of all the hard working consistent performers in the Australian cricket right now!

  • hyclass on August 21, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    @gimme-a-greentop. I understand what you mean, regarding the outre players. There is a charm in those whose method defies the conventional. The most unusual technique I ever saw, was a former Victorian and South Australian opening batsman called, Paul Nobes, who batted almost front on and built his game around back foot strokes. He still managed a substantial 1st Class career in which he averaged 41.75. Batsmen are engaged in the task of solutions. If they have risen to Test level, over a significant period, one imagines them to have developed answers. There is no credible explanation for their inclusion, beyond the run or wicket laden evidence of that premise. 'Technique', develops a relationship with the bat - not the ball. As Bradman famously quipped, 'play the game for the game's sake and always keep your eye on the ball'. With respect to Arthur, I opposed his selection at the time and the acrimony and method of his demise and departure, were exactly those I had named as probable.

  • hyclass on August 21, 2014, 13:09 GMT

    @HatsforBats - it's certainly a discussion for the ages. It may be that the next 18 months are the teller of the tale. There are a great many high standard batsmen in the world at this time and few standout bowlers. The 'relaxing' of the laws, pertaining to that which one dry humoured observer has euphemistically termed 'elbow bowling', has encouraged the rise of spinners who bowl a 'mystery ball' - the legality being its authentic mystery. Perhaps this is the compensation. Cricket certainly feels top heavy - out of balance, where once, it was the fifth season. I feel that it was more the method employed by Ponting and the emphatic production of his strokes, that gives rise to impressions of his dominance. He was something of a powerhouse and cleaner in his striking.These are simply impressions - the observing purist who perceives the artistry that rises from grace in motion, versus the pragmatist, whose every effort is assigned to results. They are equally worthy of the highest praise

  • gimme-a-greentop on August 21, 2014, 12:44 GMT

    @hyclass..firstly, blame Micky Arthur, everyone else does :) Secondly, I certainly didn't watch it live seeing as how I live in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, but I've watched the video, oh, 50 times now. Despite our well-deserved reputation for cricket conservatism I have always had a soft spot for the weird talents like Hughes, Sanath Jayasuriya, even Chanderpaul. Funny how they are usually lefties. Except for AB, who is another one that can tear up the textbooks and play tennis shots and hit confidently anywhere in the 360 degree arc.

  • DragonCricketer on August 21, 2014, 12:29 GMT

    Hughes must be averaging 220 over last couple of months with 3 big not out scores. if he can lift that average closer to 300 and maintain it for 12 months the Australian selectors might think about possibly considering him for a position in the Australian team. Might.

  • hyclass on August 21, 2014, 11:59 GMT

    @gimme-a-greentop - I take it that you watched him play and your descriptions give me great heart. As I have maintained, batting requires only an attacking plan, a defensive plan and the courage, endurance and physical ability to execute them. There are few better examples of this being applied, than Gillespie's 201* in what proved to be his final Test. If the timeless tradition of 1st Class form to Test is followed, then at Test level, a coach should have little to do, other than man manage and create objectives or match plans, based around knowledge of the opposition, lightening the load of players. Batsmen require certainty - not theories. That this was evidentially not so, from '08-'13, was an admission of a a failure of intelligence and the application of primary success principles. That they were absent in the team and throughout that period is unquestioned. 'Why' and due to whom, has received far less scrutiny than it otherwise might. Cricket was once of country, before all else

  • hyclass on August 21, 2014, 11:40 GMT

    @Mindmeld - scientific methodology is a complete process, that requires a premise, the testing of it, a blind study as a comparative, observation and inference that will in highest probability explain the data and the application of the results. At no time during the 6 year period named, was there a reasoned approach to cause and effect and the assigned responsibility for the outcomes. It abjured in every essential respect, the merest tenets of that method. We live in an age that routinely applies words like 'scientist' and 'research', as titles of authority, without any adherence to its principles - the age of appearance and the twisting of facts to fit theories, rather than the inverse. As named, intelligence is timeless and the enduring methods of cricketing heritage adhered to it in every essential respect, when successful. Don't imagine that avoiding the term 'science', invalidates the existence of the method. All that succeeds, has the premise of this reasoning at its foundation.

  • Peterincanada on August 22, 2014, 15:30 GMT

    @Dashgar Hughes FC average is 46 Finch is 29.At ODI Hughes has a slightjy higher average Finch has the superior SR 92 to 75. The numbers do not justify the statement. As Hyclass and others have stated that if Hughes had not been victimized by no nothing idiots who can say how much better his stats would be.

  • Shaggy076 on August 22, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    Dashgar - Warner hasn't toured Zimbabwe due to imminent father hood that is why Hughes has been given a chance.

  • Dashgar on August 22, 2014, 1:28 GMT

    Surely got to open with Finch and Warner. Hughes has made runs but those two are a class above him.

  • on August 21, 2014, 16:21 GMT

    If Australia lose.. this series.. then its no big deal.. if Australia win this..then too its no big deal, what they should really look to do, is build their back up strength, and that's why for the life of me I can't understand what.. Johnson.. Haddin.. Clarke are doing on this tour. Apart from a having a match winning spinner.. and a decent death bowler.. Aus have most bases covered with their first choice 11.. but just picture this.. heading into the world cup.. Haddin breaks his finger.. or Johnson or Clarke breakdown.. then who is there to fill the void they would leave?

    In an ideal world Warner and Hughes would open and Finch would be your #3.. but Australian selectors have this habit of over complicating things.. they have an amazing talent pool to choose from.. and going back to the likes of Marsh, Watson.. Doolan..Cowan.. is like a kick on the teeth of all the hard working consistent performers in the Australian cricket right now!

  • hyclass on August 21, 2014, 13:18 GMT

    @gimme-a-greentop. I understand what you mean, regarding the outre players. There is a charm in those whose method defies the conventional. The most unusual technique I ever saw, was a former Victorian and South Australian opening batsman called, Paul Nobes, who batted almost front on and built his game around back foot strokes. He still managed a substantial 1st Class career in which he averaged 41.75. Batsmen are engaged in the task of solutions. If they have risen to Test level, over a significant period, one imagines them to have developed answers. There is no credible explanation for their inclusion, beyond the run or wicket laden evidence of that premise. 'Technique', develops a relationship with the bat - not the ball. As Bradman famously quipped, 'play the game for the game's sake and always keep your eye on the ball'. With respect to Arthur, I opposed his selection at the time and the acrimony and method of his demise and departure, were exactly those I had named as probable.

  • hyclass on August 21, 2014, 13:09 GMT

    @HatsforBats - it's certainly a discussion for the ages. It may be that the next 18 months are the teller of the tale. There are a great many high standard batsmen in the world at this time and few standout bowlers. The 'relaxing' of the laws, pertaining to that which one dry humoured observer has euphemistically termed 'elbow bowling', has encouraged the rise of spinners who bowl a 'mystery ball' - the legality being its authentic mystery. Perhaps this is the compensation. Cricket certainly feels top heavy - out of balance, where once, it was the fifth season. I feel that it was more the method employed by Ponting and the emphatic production of his strokes, that gives rise to impressions of his dominance. He was something of a powerhouse and cleaner in his striking.These are simply impressions - the observing purist who perceives the artistry that rises from grace in motion, versus the pragmatist, whose every effort is assigned to results. They are equally worthy of the highest praise

  • gimme-a-greentop on August 21, 2014, 12:44 GMT

    @hyclass..firstly, blame Micky Arthur, everyone else does :) Secondly, I certainly didn't watch it live seeing as how I live in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, but I've watched the video, oh, 50 times now. Despite our well-deserved reputation for cricket conservatism I have always had a soft spot for the weird talents like Hughes, Sanath Jayasuriya, even Chanderpaul. Funny how they are usually lefties. Except for AB, who is another one that can tear up the textbooks and play tennis shots and hit confidently anywhere in the 360 degree arc.

  • DragonCricketer on August 21, 2014, 12:29 GMT

    Hughes must be averaging 220 over last couple of months with 3 big not out scores. if he can lift that average closer to 300 and maintain it for 12 months the Australian selectors might think about possibly considering him for a position in the Australian team. Might.

  • hyclass on August 21, 2014, 11:59 GMT

    @gimme-a-greentop - I take it that you watched him play and your descriptions give me great heart. As I have maintained, batting requires only an attacking plan, a defensive plan and the courage, endurance and physical ability to execute them. There are few better examples of this being applied, than Gillespie's 201* in what proved to be his final Test. If the timeless tradition of 1st Class form to Test is followed, then at Test level, a coach should have little to do, other than man manage and create objectives or match plans, based around knowledge of the opposition, lightening the load of players. Batsmen require certainty - not theories. That this was evidentially not so, from '08-'13, was an admission of a a failure of intelligence and the application of primary success principles. That they were absent in the team and throughout that period is unquestioned. 'Why' and due to whom, has received far less scrutiny than it otherwise might. Cricket was once of country, before all else

  • hyclass on August 21, 2014, 11:40 GMT

    @Mindmeld - scientific methodology is a complete process, that requires a premise, the testing of it, a blind study as a comparative, observation and inference that will in highest probability explain the data and the application of the results. At no time during the 6 year period named, was there a reasoned approach to cause and effect and the assigned responsibility for the outcomes. It abjured in every essential respect, the merest tenets of that method. We live in an age that routinely applies words like 'scientist' and 'research', as titles of authority, without any adherence to its principles - the age of appearance and the twisting of facts to fit theories, rather than the inverse. As named, intelligence is timeless and the enduring methods of cricketing heritage adhered to it in every essential respect, when successful. Don't imagine that avoiding the term 'science', invalidates the existence of the method. All that succeeds, has the premise of this reasoning at its foundation.

  • gimme-a-greentop on August 21, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    @hyclass..yes there is no doubt that the movement towards leg not only opens up the slices (well, he also creamed a good few over extra cover to be fair) through the off side as it obviously would but also, strangely enough, allows him to hit those 'tennis shots' off back of a length balls over the bowler's head or over mid-on, which is a serious skill to possess. He was actually playing mind games with the SA bowlers, moving both ways and also on occassion standing fairly still. But there is no doubt that his backing away strategy is mighty effective - it was bound to offend the purist coaches, though, which just shows you coaches aren't always right when it comes to a unique talent.

  • HatsforBats on August 21, 2014, 11:08 GMT

    @ hyclass, I find it hard to put Ponting & Clarke on the same level, purely I think because of that immensely strong 5-6yr period where Ponting was by some distance the best in the world. Those years though were bookended by several well-below par years. Clarke has habitually been more inconsistent than Ponting, but throughout his career he has played so many stunning innings, easily equal to any I have seen in the last 30yrs, that I feel he really is in the same bracket.

  • hyclass on August 21, 2014, 10:30 GMT

    As a side note, it's hard to believe that Michael Clarke is half way to 34. It seems just yesterday, that he scored an exhilarating 151 on debut, narrowly missing Bannerman's 165*. It's hard to know where to place him in the pantheons. One barely considers him in the same category as a Ponting. Yet his record bears favourable comparison in all categories, other than total centuries, but includes a triple century, which eluded Ponting. One rarely thinks of Clarke as a dominating player in the true tradition of that genre and his technique is hardly cut from the text book. Yet his willingness to adhere tenuously to the crease and a full range of strokes, with both the willingness and maturity to select when to apply them, make him a foe of stealth. If he has one weakness,it is the half push/half run on the move, outside off stump that sometimes appears. Perhaps his legacy will be seen as his relative calmness in the eye of a storm -a time of change-and the example that he undoubtedly is.

  • Mindmeld on August 21, 2014, 10:26 GMT

    With all due respect, @hyclass, "observing and applying detail, probability and scientific methodology" is what led us down a long, dark slope to mediocrity. Remember the farce of scientific rotation? Let's hope the number crunchers stick to the stock market. There are some things that just cannot be counted or analysed, and it just so happens that they are the essence of human experience and much of human excellence. Lillee, Thomson, Marsh and co would have giggled at half of that nonsense. Good to see Boof in there stirring the pot. He makes a good foil for Clarke. What Clarke lacks in authority and machismo, Boof provides. This leaves Clarke free to make his highly innovative and daring tactical moves in games. I for one love the web they weave.

  • hyclass on August 21, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    Being the CIO of a rising technology company, I am in the habit of observing and applying detail, probability and scientific methodology to any premise. As such, I hold very different and dim views on the last six years of cricket in Australia and that which has transpired. That a levelling has occurred in Australian performance, is something of a calm after a significant storm, though as always, intelligence is timeless. This is never more evident, than in the choice of coach, selectors and the reversion to the better use of institutes, removal of idealogues and tinkerers and subscribing to traditional methodologies. One reasons that for anything to endure, it must merit it by quality of action and principle. When these are arbitrarily reversed, one may expect a commensurate reversal in fortunes, as happened. I expect that, as long as 20/20 is kept at a respectful distance and the idea of 'form in all three formats' is dispensed with, that Australia can rise once more to heady heights

  • gimme-a-greentop on August 21, 2014, 9:42 GMT

    @Jamie Moneghan..thank you for being kind to SA but that's what people say every time :( On paper we should absolutely make the semi-finals, but you know...

  • hyclass on August 21, 2014, 9:39 GMT

    @gimme-a-greentop. Though I didn't watch Hughes in the recent series, I took great heart, when reading of his 'tennis style shots down the ground', as indicative that he had finally returned to his original and what I had deemed to be, peerless method. I immediately named this, rather than the 2 x 100's and 200 in four games last season, as evidential of his return.The great gift of his method, up until joining the pre-Ashes squad in '09 and being directed to prepare otherwise, was that his propensity to move his back foot to leg - the trigger movement, kept him perennially side on and able to late adjust in a manner that few following the text book can. What many unkindly deemed 'compulsive slicing through covers and point', well conceived and effect method of dealing with that which a left hand opener will face. I unhesitatingly class his fall, to have nothing to do with being 'found out', which even cursory investigation debunks, but a then forceful instruction to change his method.

  • on August 21, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    @Kiwicricketfan. Think Dunger.Bob just meant that NZ can throw up a very green pitch now and then as he was replying to someone's question. I also agree that both Australia and NZ will do well in World Cup as both teams have explosive hitters and if they come off then could be unstoppable , I think the 3 Southern Hemisphere teams will make the semis with either SL or India to make the fourth as they traditionally do well in world cups too.

  • KiwiCricketFan on August 21, 2014, 8:44 GMT

    @dunger.bob have no idea what you mean by you never know what the kiwis will roll out as our pitches for limited overs are always the same as they arent played at proper test cricket venues like 'the basin'. Also @Jagger i wouldnt be worried about turn as there is not likely to be much, although i like Hughes he doesnt have skill set to keep at intl. lvl. but should definitely be in side. Hope Kiwis and Aussies do well this WC both have good chances if right squads are picked.

  • Jagger on August 21, 2014, 2:05 GMT

    I am praying for three things to happen for the World Cup: 1. Watson stays injured or gets dropped, 2. Phil Hughes keeps wicket, and 3. The pitches will not spin: Arguably the most important job for an F50 (ODI) opener is to set the momentum for the innings. The openers must be able to assess what the pitch is doing and act upon it without delay. Especially when batting first. Too many times of late Australian openers are being tied down due to their own form, and not the pitch. We need leaders there like Waugh, Taylor, Gilchrist, Hayden et al. Micheal Clarke is best placed to open with Finch. Best current World Cup XI is: Clarke, Finch, Warner, Maxwell, Bailey or Lynn, M Marsh or Cutting, Hughes, Faulkner, Johnson, Harris, Bird. With Haddin's help, Hughes can become a permanent fixture in this Australian team. Be bold and innovative, Australia. Nobody will knock you for trying if they can understand the reason why.

  • dunger.bob on August 21, 2014, 0:59 GMT

    @ Greatest_Game: I wouldn't expect too much grass on our WC pitches but you never know what the Kiwi's will roll out. Some of their pitches have been a bit 'interesting' in the past. For our part though, I hope they're just standard one day tracks typical of each ground. .. I can't see why we need to change that because our pitches are generally pretty solid and good for cricket. If there is any pressure from anywhere to change the nature of the pitches I hope with all my heart our board resists it with every ounce of stubbornness they can muster.

  • on August 21, 2014, 0:58 GMT

    Finch,Haddin,Hugues,Clarke,Bailey,Smith,Maxwell,Falkner,Cutting,Johnson,Lyon

    mountains of batting and plenty of bowling options.

  • Chris_P on August 20, 2014, 20:10 GMT

    @Greatest_Game . Agree that the pitches served up against India was totally unlike Sth African pitches (giving some of their fans excuses that they can handle Sth African pitches!) but I couldn't see issues in the Australian series? They suited our bowlers as much as yours? And I also think you guys are treating this the same as ours, an exercise in trying to sort out who is going to be in the squad, these series don't really have a great deal to offer other than seeing how certain players respond.

  • Greatest_Game on August 20, 2014, 16:51 GMT

    @ landl47 writes "Since South Africa has only brought its second-string bowlers, I'm not sure how much Australia will learn from this series."

    Steyn, Morkel & Philander are being rested for the three Zimbabwe games. They will be back for the triangular series. That should allow Aus to learn a bit, tho I don't see Phiander doing much on these low, slow, dry Zim pitches.

    Maybe they will prepare pitches with some grass for the SA vs Aus games. That would be a relief. After the horrible test pitches SA curators inexplicably served up at home against both India & Aus, (orders from somewhere?) and then the Sri Lanka "no grass allowed" tour, & now these Zim games, the SA bowlers have not seen a blade of grass in so long they will probably be mystified!

    I'm wondering what the World Cup pitches will be like, prepared under the direction of the ICC. Will they be like the last Champions Trophy sub-continent pitches? Hope not. Seems pitches are "losing their grass" for every ICC tournament?

  • on August 20, 2014, 16:26 GMT

    @Waymore Lonesome. Finch has a couple of Hundreds already in ODI's and quite a few fifties so his place is perfectly fine. Finch' job is almost exactly the same as the one Gilchrist had as a one day opener and that is to get Australia off to a blistering start within first 5-15 overs to setup a platform for the rest of the order. He has the license to fail as his low scores of 20 -30 odd are usually at a strike rate of 150 and over allowing the next batsmen in time to have a look. We have seen what he can do it if it's his day and he comes off. Don't be surprised if he is up there for top run scorer in OZ for World Cup.

  • AMMAR3438668158 on August 20, 2014, 14:31 GMT

    finch and hughes is the ideal players for openings.i always see him(p.hughes) in both test and odi team.DragonCricketer i think you did not see hughes batting form recently double hundred.he shows his great form and deserve spot in this team.haddin played at middle order not as opener.maxi is also a good alrounder and faulkner should improve his bowling.good to see smith in odi he has also in good form. my team for this tri-seris finch, hughes, bailey, clarke, smith, haddin, cutting or faulkner, mitch, starc, richardson, luon.

  • landl47 on August 20, 2014, 12:20 GMT

    @dunger.bob: Mitch played in the IPL. I don't believe he's actually played any cricket.

  • gimme-a-greentop on August 20, 2014, 12:16 GMT

    @rickyvoncanterbury...it wasn't a bad attack at all, really, I guess I just meant in terms of what Hughes has faced in the past. Hendricks, Shezi and Phangiso are all touring with the senior side in Zimbabwe at the moment and are top performers in our domestic cricket, while Rabada is a young gun who terrorized all and sundry at the u-19 world cup. Not the fiercest he has faced, but as you say, you still have to score the runs, and geez, did he ever. He had his unorthodox style out again, and I hope he bats like that going forward. The last time I saw him bat with Agar in the Ashes in England I couldn't believe it was the same guy.

  • RVC-38 on August 20, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    @ gimme-a-greentop That's music to the ears of us Hughes fans, it may have been an A attack that I personally don't know much about but I had a quick look at the averages of the opening bowlers and they were both 27, not to shabby, also from what I have read it was batsman friendly but you still have to hit the middle often to score 200

  • gimme-a-greentop on August 20, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    Just managed to find some video highlights of the double Hughes scored against our 'A' side...wow...I think AB has some serious competition for most audacious shot-maker in world cricket...unbelievable hitting and style....it might have been just because he was plundering an A bowling attack, but he was looking uncannily similar to when he first started against us and nobody knew where to bowl to him...

  • xtrafalgarx on August 20, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    @Dunger.bob. On the couch i think. All the others you have mentioned haven't done much. But everyone did have a big pre season at the NCC so they are not completely raw.

  • RVC-38 on August 20, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    What is the cricketing definition of an all rounder is it for example a batting and bowling average of say 35 after 50 wickets and 1000 runs and Why do we keep calling SOME of our players all rounders if Watson, Faulkner and Maxwell are a/rounders than why are Clarke, Smith, and Warner not and it does seem to me that a god bowler cannot be an a/rounder or people would call Johnson one.

  • dunger.bob on August 20, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    @ xtrafalgarx: Whoops, I missed Maxwell in England. I can also see your point about giving him extra responsibility. .. fair enough. Hey, do you know what Mitch has been up to this winter? I haven't read, seen or heard anything about him since last summer.

  • DragonCricketer on August 20, 2014, 7:57 GMT

    Hughes should not be selected until he scores a few triples. At Least.

  • heathrf1974 on August 20, 2014, 7:42 GMT

    It's good to see Hughes in the squad. Unfortunately it is because of injury.

  • on August 20, 2014, 7:22 GMT

    re. All-Rounders - Faulkner is a match winner. Got to be in. Mind you, so is Maxwell according to T20 form, but hasn't brought it to international yet.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 20, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    @Dunger.bob: Maxwell has been playing cricket in England. He is probably the most prepared of them all. Also, it is BECAUSE he hasn't pulled his head in a lot of his innings at an international level that he should be batting at no.3. It's a challenge to him to get better and learn how to do it now, rather than in the WC when we need him ready, even if he goes back to no.6 after this.

  • dunger.bob on August 20, 2014, 7:00 GMT

    Haddin, Clarke, Maxwell, Smith and Johnson should be the rustiest. 4 or 5 in the squad have been playing in the A games so hopefully they'll hit the ground running.

    Maxwell is a handy player because he can bowl his T20 darts and fly through a few overs if needed. Not sure about him batting at 3 though. I think I'd prefer to see Smith there most days because he can pull his head in if things are too tricky for a high run-rate.

    Richardson bowled pretty well in the A games when he got a run. He seemed to be picking up 3 or 4 wickets regularly. I'm looking forward to seeing how he goes against the Saffers if he gets the nod. I'm still not 100% convinced about Cuttings bowling. He seems to get tonked every time I watch him play. Maybe I just keep missing his good games.

  • pvwadekar on August 20, 2014, 6:38 GMT

    Australia really has depth in batting and bowling for the ODI series. They are definitely one of the favorites for the 2015 WC.

  • Jay32 on August 20, 2014, 6:37 GMT

    Australia must select specialist players with bat and ball. Although James Faulkner has won few games with his batting, his bowling has been below par in the last few series . He does not cut it as the 3rd seamer and it would be right to pick a specialist fast bowler in his place. Faulkner is a good bet as 4th seamer. Like faulkner, Maxwell's place in the squad is quite debatable as he tends to throw his wicket at crucial stages.

    My team - 1- Finch, 2-Hughes, 3- Maxwell, 4- Clarke, 5- Bailey, 6- Smith, 7 Haddin, 8-starc, 9-Cutting , 10- Richardson, 11-Lyon

  • xtrafalgarx on August 20, 2014, 6:29 GMT

    @landl47: Steyn, Morkel and Philander will be back for tri series. I agree about Haddin, he is past it an an opener.

  • Vivek.Bhandari on August 20, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    I just love how some of you can actually take the pains to provide your own playing elevens while rotating the players

  • on August 20, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    I know it's only Zimbabwe, but geez where is Phil Hughes, guys got a fifty, a ton and two doubles in the last couple of months, he was the incumbent opener a year ago and was doing fine, and Marsh, Watson and Warner are unavailable, and still, apart from Rod Marsh, the team management is still yeah well maybe he'll play maybe he won't.

    How about saying it like it is, they should be excited to have him back in the team and he's certainly going to open. Finch is the batsman that should be under the pump, he's so far proven to be not even a short form specialist but a T20 specialist. He's exciting and certainly worth the investment, but so far he's done little to impress in the 50 over game.

  • on August 20, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    @Landl47. As far as I know I think Steyn and Morkal are returning to their lineup for the Australian games of the Tri-Series. I'm pretty happy with the Aussie squad as plenty of talent on show in pretty much all areas , so let's hope the pitches don't ruin what could be some exciting cricket.

  • social_monster09 on August 20, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    @landl47- Don't worry mate. This series is just for our players to get rid out from rustiness. My team for upcoming tour is as:- 1.Finch 2.Hughes 3.Bailey 4.Clarke 5.Maxi 6.Smith 7.Haddin 8.Faulkner 9.Johnson 10.Lyon 11.Richardson. But as our friend #MariusPontmercy94 suggests that we can rotate players throughout the series though it's a small series with only 4-5 matches per team I think.

  • landl47 on August 20, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    Since South Africa has only brought its second-string bowlers, I'm not sure how much Australia will learn from this series. However, I hope Hughes is given a chance. I can't see Haddin opening being a winning strategy, he'll be 37 in a couple of months.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 20, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    @MariusPontmercy94: Good teams, i agree with both except i'd have Bailey ahead of Smith.

  • sohanpandey578 on August 20, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    Glen Maxwell shoud open with Aron Finch.

  • MariusPontmercy94 on August 20, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    My teams from this squad vs South Africa 1 - Finch 2 - Hughes 3 - Maxwell 4 - Clarke 5 - Smith 6 - Bailey 7 - Haddin 8 - Faulkner 9 - Johnson 10 - Richardson 11 - Lyon. vs Zimbabwe 1 - Finch 2 - Hughes 3 - Maxwell 4 - Clarke 5 - Bailey 6 - Haddin 7 - Marsh 8 - Cutting 9 - Starc 10 - Richardson 11 - Lyon.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • MariusPontmercy94 on August 20, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    My teams from this squad vs South Africa 1 - Finch 2 - Hughes 3 - Maxwell 4 - Clarke 5 - Smith 6 - Bailey 7 - Haddin 8 - Faulkner 9 - Johnson 10 - Richardson 11 - Lyon. vs Zimbabwe 1 - Finch 2 - Hughes 3 - Maxwell 4 - Clarke 5 - Bailey 6 - Haddin 7 - Marsh 8 - Cutting 9 - Starc 10 - Richardson 11 - Lyon.

  • sohanpandey578 on August 20, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    Glen Maxwell shoud open with Aron Finch.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 20, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    @MariusPontmercy94: Good teams, i agree with both except i'd have Bailey ahead of Smith.

  • landl47 on August 20, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    Since South Africa has only brought its second-string bowlers, I'm not sure how much Australia will learn from this series. However, I hope Hughes is given a chance. I can't see Haddin opening being a winning strategy, he'll be 37 in a couple of months.

  • social_monster09 on August 20, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    @landl47- Don't worry mate. This series is just for our players to get rid out from rustiness. My team for upcoming tour is as:- 1.Finch 2.Hughes 3.Bailey 4.Clarke 5.Maxi 6.Smith 7.Haddin 8.Faulkner 9.Johnson 10.Lyon 11.Richardson. But as our friend #MariusPontmercy94 suggests that we can rotate players throughout the series though it's a small series with only 4-5 matches per team I think.

  • on August 20, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    @Landl47. As far as I know I think Steyn and Morkal are returning to their lineup for the Australian games of the Tri-Series. I'm pretty happy with the Aussie squad as plenty of talent on show in pretty much all areas , so let's hope the pitches don't ruin what could be some exciting cricket.

  • on August 20, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    I know it's only Zimbabwe, but geez where is Phil Hughes, guys got a fifty, a ton and two doubles in the last couple of months, he was the incumbent opener a year ago and was doing fine, and Marsh, Watson and Warner are unavailable, and still, apart from Rod Marsh, the team management is still yeah well maybe he'll play maybe he won't.

    How about saying it like it is, they should be excited to have him back in the team and he's certainly going to open. Finch is the batsman that should be under the pump, he's so far proven to be not even a short form specialist but a T20 specialist. He's exciting and certainly worth the investment, but so far he's done little to impress in the 50 over game.

  • Vivek.Bhandari on August 20, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    I just love how some of you can actually take the pains to provide your own playing elevens while rotating the players

  • xtrafalgarx on August 20, 2014, 6:29 GMT

    @landl47: Steyn, Morkel and Philander will be back for tri series. I agree about Haddin, he is past it an an opener.

  • Jay32 on August 20, 2014, 6:37 GMT

    Australia must select specialist players with bat and ball. Although James Faulkner has won few games with his batting, his bowling has been below par in the last few series . He does not cut it as the 3rd seamer and it would be right to pick a specialist fast bowler in his place. Faulkner is a good bet as 4th seamer. Like faulkner, Maxwell's place in the squad is quite debatable as he tends to throw his wicket at crucial stages.

    My team - 1- Finch, 2-Hughes, 3- Maxwell, 4- Clarke, 5- Bailey, 6- Smith, 7 Haddin, 8-starc, 9-Cutting , 10- Richardson, 11-Lyon