Once again, the Australian cricket selectors, or NSP (National Selection Panel) as they are now known, have failed the country.
I hate to be cynical, but the naming of the Australian squad to tour England during the middle to latter months of the year has filled me with rage and I need to get it off my chest.
John Inverarity, chairman of the panel, has shocked many with his questionable selection tactics, including the much-maligned rotation policy. This time however, he has taken a step too far. Australian cricket is in turmoil.
What is being faced right now is an identity crisis. We hear all of the time that Australia is looking forward to the future. They include exciting ‘youngsters’ such as Mitchell Starc, James Faulkner and Phil Hughes regularly in squads with the main aim of creating a new base of players the Ashes and the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Well Cricket Australia, it is now too late. You don’t give these boys enough time to find national form. They’re either dropped or rotated out of the side. If the previously mentioned were our main aims, why don’t you persist?
Instead, we try to use the Back to the Future technique. This involves bringing in players 30 and over who may have valuable experience but are no better than the young men they have replaced.
One thing that particularly irks me about this squad is the inclusion of a certain 35-year old New South Welshman wicketkeeper; Brad Haddin.
It is common knowledge that when you get handed a baggy blue, your baggy green is already in the bag, but it seems we persist with players from Texas a lot more than other states. A key example is the man I have mentioned.
Haddin’s form has been tapering off since January 2011, when he was replaced by Tim Paine for the Twenty20 series against England. Meanwhile, Victorian Matthew Wade had been slowly working his way up the ranks thanks to his domestic form and even replaced Haddin as Australia’s preferred gloveman of all forms in April 2012.
Inverarity however said that the boy from Cowra remained a ‘player of significant interest’. While Wade gave solid but some shaky performances, Haddin toiled in domestic cricket. Some good form ‘won’ him some ODI games towards the end of the season to give Wade a rest.
Some below par performances in India from the Victorian has seen him demoted to second choice. It seems it’s a case of one strike and you’re out. And guess who has replaced him, and also been promoted to vice-captain?
The question still yet to be answered is: why still Haddin? If we are truly looking forward to the future why are we playing a 35-year old? If the selectors feel that Wade is not up to it, drop him for Tim Paine or another wicketkeeper who is under 30 years of age.
Ian Healy moved on at the right time and so did Adam Gilchrist. Why isn’t Brad Haddin capable of this?
Other questionable inclusions are Chris Rogers and Ryan Harris, both above 32 years of age. You’ve probably realised by now but if you didn’t I’m a proud Victorian. Rogers has had an impressive domestic season and exposure to English conditions has certainly helped the one-test wonder be included.
Harris has also impressed with Queensland. He has not, however, played a test since mid-last year.
Among the exclusions from the Indian tour, there is a common theme. Apart from Mitchell Johnson; Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques and Steve Smith are all under the age of 30. The selectors want experience in the side. Persist with these players and they will all gain experience.
The English are laughing at us, and rightfully so. Under the leadership of super captain Michael Clarke, nothing is impossible, but I’m telling you it will be very, very hard for us to win this Ashes series.
Perhaps we might have a better shot when the English visit us in the Summer.