I drafted this piece about two weeks ago but I’ve been so busy with other things, including my day job, that I just haven’t had time to finalise it. And now Australia has started it’s tour of India!!
I was going to make some comments about the squad – and Symonds. And I still will.
The spinners. It was a bit surprising to see the greyhound miss out. Perhaps a bit harsh. Here are some facts and stats about the two lucky applicants.
Neither spinner has played a Test.
Neither spinner has a contract with CA.
McGain, at 36, has played a whole 19 first class matches. I must admit that I had not heard of him until about 18 months ago.
I had not heard of Jason Krejza until threes ago. I glad I’m writing this because I don’t know how to say his name. He has played four more first class matches then McGain, even though he is just 25. He has taken 43 wickets at 45.46. He’s an off spinner for crying out loud. Need I remind you of Gavin Robertson? Tendulkar must be turning cartwheels. Surely this next series will see his flagging form turn around.
And now for Roy. There’s obviously more to all of this than a fishing trip. I had the feeling that everyone is a little bit fed up with Roy and the fishing trip was a nicely orchestrated operation to cut Roy out. If all the boys are his close friends, why are they all so happy to see him at home? This is the way I see it. Roy (and his team mates) were very annoyed about having to drop the charges against Harbhajan. Of course, Symonds was the primary prosecutor, so he had the most face to loose. Symonds was outspoken about IPL and not going to Pakistan and basically gave CA the bird. Not that I think Symonds is a great loss from the Test team. He’s a big loss from the one day team, but who cares about that?
It’s all up to the way Symond’s absence is handled. Which leads me to Watson.
Just when you thought we would never see him considered for Test duties again, hey presto, he’s back in contention. Please don’t misunderstand me – I don’t hate Watto. He’s a ripper bloke and a useful cricketer but he doesn’t deserve to be in the Test team.
The number six spot should go to Katich. To give it to Watson would be folly of the highest order. He has not proved himself as a Test batsman and even less so as a bowler. And he has never played for NSW. Watson will go for millions if he gets a bowl in India. And I’m not talking about his next IPL contract. If he has any sense, he’ll not devalue his stocks in India and IPL, and ask to be omitted from the Test squad. Or he could get injured.
Katich has earned his place in the team from the past Australian season and on the tour of the West Indies. I’m assuming Hayden will return as opener. In addition, Katich proved himself on the last tour of India and I still contend that his Chinamen will be useful – more useful than Watson. Remember too that Katich just toured India with Australia A. In these days of rushed tours with minimal warm ups, any extra experience counts. To support my point, Katich just scored 78 out of a paltry 218 made by the Aussies yesterday.
Commiserations to Noffke. He is unlucky.
Let’s all remember that Warne never conquered the Indians or India. It is true that he performed well in the victorious 2004 tour, taking 14 wickets in the series. However, it was Gillespie (20 @ 16.15) and McGrath (14 @ 25.42) who lead the way, with good support from Kasper (9 @ 28.33). Australia needs to pick their best bowlers. Australia has two good bowlers – Clark and Lee. The other two spots are open.
Prognosis: A hard tour followed by a rough time against South Africa and difficulties against the Poms. Australia can come through the next 12 months but only with astute team selection and good leadership. The sooner Pup replaces the Punter, the better. There you go – I said it.