Almanac Cricket: 36 into 11 won’t go

“The Cricketer”
   by Kate Birrell


On Wednesday I received a press release from Cricket Australia with the selected players for the test series in South Africa and the limited overs tour of New Zealand. In total there were 36 players who Cricket Oz deem good enough to wear the baggy green, although in the case of the T20 side it is GI Gold.


36! I thought that number had been done and dusted when the might of Australia skittled India with Kaptain Kohli in Adelaide not seven weeks ago.


36!  Do we have that many players good enough to represent their country at any format of cricket? I don’t think so. We might be lucky and have 26, but 36! Come on Trev, George and whoever the third selector is (currently it’s coach Justin Langer). I can’t even name the three selectors, let alone 36 cricketers with ability in Australia.


With South Africa blooding virtually a new side from the last time they played Australia, surely it would have been Australia’s opportunity to do the same. But the final outcome was Joe Burns and Matthew Wade were axed and the only player who wasn’t picked in the ‘home squad’ was Alex Carey.


Now most Croweaters, including the most biased press in Australia, think Carey is a walk-up start for the test matches in South Africa. Have they already forgotten about the player they have been touting for skipper in Travis Head (another Croweater)? Surely they could have rested other players, such as Mitchell Starc, and given the most impressive fast bowler outside the ‘Favoured Four’ in Jhye Richardson a tour instead of sending him to the shaky isles for hits and giggles. Richardson adds a dimension to the fast-bowling stocks that was sadly lacking in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Marcus Harris and Moises Henriques are adequate players but are they good enough to represent us in the big-time? I think not.


Remember Abbott, Carey, Henriques, Neser, Pattinson, Steketee and Swepson would have forgotten what a four-day game, let alone a test match, looks like.


Test squad:

Tim Paine (C), Pat Cummins (VC), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.


My changes

In – Zampa, J.Richardson, A.Agar (if fit)

Out – Starc (managed?), Harris, Steketee


Has the T20 squad to New Zealand been picked on past performances, or have some of the ‘new guys’ made it difficult for them to be left out? I doubt the wisdom in selecting both the captain and vice-captain. Finch has had an appalling summer in this format and Wade has been left out of the ‘main arena’ because he has not been able to perform to what the selectors require.


So once again, why not blood some of those under the age of 30? With 19 selected, are all players going to get a game, let alone games?  It is hard to see many changes being made here also. For heavens sake, four overs per bowler per game is not going to tire them out. Then again, the buzz word in cricket and AFL in “managed” comes into play.


T20 squad:

Aaron Finch (C), Matthew Wade (VC), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.


My changes:

In – Steketee, S.Harper

Out – Finch, Wade, K.Richardson, Turner, Zampa (South Africa), Jhye Richardson (South Africa), Agar (South Africa)


Captain: G.Maxwell

Vice captain: D.Short


Thirty – six players good enough to represent Australia? Come on! The selector and the Board should be hoisted on their own petard in scheduling two series at the same time. Time will tell and I will eat humble pie (Balfours of course) if Australia come home with whatever they have gone away for.


To read more from Citrus Bob, click HERE



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About Bob Utber

At 84 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he has always done since growing up on a small farm at Lang Lang. Talking, watching and writing sport and in recent years writing books. He lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny) and a groodle named 'Chloe on Flinders' and can be found at Deakin 27 every day.


  1. John Butler says

    It’s all about priorities, Bob.

    And as soon as anyone can clarify Cricket Australia’s priorities I’d appreciate the explanation.

  2. JB – I will try and find the most eminent lawyer in Australia who has an unbiased interest in The Great Game to try and ravel it out!
    I will also do some research on other countries and look at the composition of their Test teams and T20 to see if they compare with CA’s priorities.
    A very pertinent question indeed.

  3. G’day Citrus. Next Thursday there is going to be a voucher on the back of Cornflakes packets. Simply cut it out and post it to the ACB and they’ll send you a baggy green.

  4. citrus bob says

    DIPS –
    I can’t wait!

    If I have 3 vouchers can I get one each for Rulebook and Peter G.O.M. Baulderstone as well?

  5. G’day Citrus.
    Cricket is in a state of flux at present, I reckon. I agree that Jhye Richardson would have added something different to the Test squad. In my opinion, Abbott isn’t up to Test standard, and Richardson is heaps better than Steketee. As for Zampa, his first class record (38 matches, 105 wickets @ 48) suggests that he is simply not a red-ball bowler. Tanveer Sangha might play Test cricket very soon.
    As for the T20 squad, it si simply unfathomable that Wes Agar was not selected.

  6. You know as much about pies as cricket CB.
    Clearly CA will be adding 5 more players to the existing 19 man squad make up the “Four and Twenty” team to tour New Zealand.

  7. No Shaun Marsh ???

    What happened to Hilton Cartwright? Rushed in for an SCG test a few years back, went on a tour. Didn’t set the world on fine, though wasn’t disgraced. He’s currently not on the radar .

    Glenn Maxwell has had very few test opportunities, yet his cards seem marked not to return. Peter Handscomb seems to have suffered the same fate.

    Patterson from New South Wales has had a few injury hiccups, but didn’t fail in his few test opportunities.

    Where is Australian cricket at? Yes India is the best team in the world, possibly destined for a period of greatness. But it takes two to tango, with Australia not measuring up when the pressure was on. No need to say more, it’s already been said.

    Anyhow we have all of 2021 in front of us to watch/monitor the teams progress. It may start off on the veldt, depending on health factors.


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