Reading Tea Leaves

It’s only natural for outsiders to try and interpret team selections for warm up matches and what they mean, if anything, in the context of the next Test.  During the Hilditch era, I found this harder to read than a cup of  tea leaves.  Turns out, it didn’t matter because they were, in fact, using tea leaves to actually make the selections.  The team selected for the South Africa A tour match is quite interesting.

Many people have been thinking that the teenage sensation, Pat Cummins, is going to start his first Test on the 9th of November.  Even Ryan Harris said, on the record, “I would be surprised if he is not picked.”  I say, “Not so fast.”

Harris is fit again and would be an automatic selection, as is Johnson.  If they intend to play a spinner, that leaves three in contention for the last pace spot – Siddle, Copeland and Cummins.  Given the outcomes in Sri Lanka, I would suggest that those three are ranked in the order that I listed them.

Harris has been rested for the warm up match.  That in itself surprises me.  The guy has not played cricket for two months so why does he need a rest? I would have thought quite the opposite.  I think it speak volumes for the fragility of Harris’ body.  But whatever the case, he is being rested.

Three other quicks are playing and none of them are Cummins.  That means he is either an automatic choice or he is not in the frame, and that Siddle and Copeland are vying for the last place.  Logic would say that Cummins is just 18, has played just three first class matches and should be playing his fourth first class match now if he is under consideration for the 1st Test.  And now that Inverarity has taken over, I have a lot more hope that we can pay attention to logic.

So, unless they intend not to select a spinner, which might be possible on some of these South African pitches, the pacemen will be Harris, Johnson, Siddle and Watson.  Sorry Pat – I love your work, and I’m waiting for your day but I don’t think it will be in November 2011.

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