Almanac Cricket – Citrus Bob’s Perth Test pre-game challenge



With the real cricket only 10 days away let us see if we can eek out the final XI that will take to the field in Perth before the selectors get their hands on it. If you can PICK THE TEAM (in batting order plus 12th man) I will personally see if I can get you a seat at a nominated Test of your choice.


With the lead up form absolutely appalling and given that the “hopefuls” have not played in a winning Test side for quite a while I regard the chances of Nick Kyrgios winning the Oz Open without a dummy spit more likely than naming the team. So here goes.


Given the selectors penchant for resting players no leg spinner worth his salt will be selected. Whatever happened to Fawad Ahmed? CA couldn’t wait to have him naturalized. Of the slows Nathan Lyon picks himself although one can never work out why the selectors never seem to trust him to do the job and besides he is the designated singer of the team’s song.


Of the fast bowlers of quality in the country – there are only four. Starc and Hazelwood are both fit? Siddle is coming back after a long spell and Cummins is, well Comin’. We have tried 22 in the last 26 months surely there must be one or two who refuse to be injured.


Of the batters, why don’t we use batsmen now? Warner and Smith are certainties and weight of numbers would suggest Voges is very close although his form in Sri Lanka like most of them left a lot to be desired. Burns is hot and cold but cold is more effective most times. Ussie is probably favoured but his fielding is terrible. Shaun Marsh is injured again and must be in doubt. Victoria has no one worthy of a position. Likewise SA although I have always been a fan of Callum Ferguson and the rest – well you name them. I forgot that wearing light blue cap is always an advantage so Hughes, Henriques and Maddison must be up there although at the time of writing Hughes and Maddison are both injured. A big score by Moises this week could part the waves for his recall.


Peter Nevill’s keeping will keep him in the side but as of the last 30 years the ability to keep wickets has been second fiddle to batting. Think Berry, Hartley to name a couple of outstanding keepers. The selectors love Matthew Wade but he is miles away from Nevill and Hartley as a gloveman.


Mitch Marsh seems to be the chairman’s choice for the all-rounders position although there is money on the Big Show every time but I will plumb for Henriques although both could play. Moises and Mitch could both play to give the quicks more spells.
I have thrown the names in the air and it has come down to the following batting order:-


Usman Khawaja (Queens)
David Warner (NSW) (VC)
Steve Smith (NSW) (Capt)
Adam Voges (WA)
Moises Henriques (NSW)
Mitch Marsh (WA)
Peter Nevill (NSW) – keeper
Peter Siddle (Vic)
Mitchell Starc (NSW)
Josh Hazelwood (NSW)
Nathan Lyon (NSW)
12th man – anyone from WA who is not playing e.g Charlesworth, Hughes, Langer, Moody et al


What do you think?


P.S. Like to catch up with all you knackers in Perth, Bellerive and Adelaide. You will recognize me by my clothes.

Citrus Bob.


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About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Good challenge Bob. My 11 is a bit different to yours (noting this is the 11 I think they’ll pick rather than the 11 I would like them to pick). Tipping SMarsh to make a miracle injury comeback and the selectors to throw Ussie an olive branch despite him mouthing off.

    S Marsh
    Warner (VC)
    Smith (Capt)
    M Marsh

  2. Yes v interesting question,Citrus Bob again on the same sentiment as Dave re going who I think they will pick my 1 difference re Dave is out,S Marsh in Burns but what a vital round of shield games coming up

  3. G’day Citrus.
    Absolutely staggered to learn of the Test beginning next week.
    And it’s alarming to me to have not the foggiest idea of the composition of the side.

    U Khawaja surely plays – though history is littered with talented players of team sports dropped for “team harmony”/ “misplaced arrogance correction” reasons and never seen nor heard from again.
    Do spinners play any domestic cricket?
    Does anyone play domestic long form cricket?

  4. Citrus Bob says

    Your questions of cause are what many of us have been querying for the last few years and especially since the employment of a high performance manager.
    1. If spinners play domestic cricket they don’t get the chance to bowl very much as the HPM would want his medium pace trundlers to keep fit just in case another quick breaks down.
    2. If you mean by “anyone” test players I don’t think they play too much and as Chappelli says theye certainly dont play district/grade cricket. Peter Siddle is the exception and he would play for Dandenong at the drop of a hat and he does.
    Most players lead up to Test selection these days is counting money.

  5. Chris bracher says

    Here’s my team Bob, in batting order:

    …….reflecting a joyous childhood time when I was truly engaged in the fortunes of the Test team and national pride was indelibly linked with the outcome. The decline in significance was at first gradual but has accelerated in the last decade. Inconsequential games of the hybrid variety and “horses for courses” selections have watered down the once -was-excitement of impending test matches for this 50-something bloke.
    However, long may your yellow (” citrus”) dacks grace the press enclosures of many and various test arenas, using your impeccable Almanac credentials. Re-inspire me Bob!

  6. I’m going. The wife wants to look at wild flowers so I suggested thqat we could make a flying trip. What about Kurtis Patterson. Averages over 40 and is young

  7. Warner
    S Marsh
    M Marsh
    C White
    A Symonds (c)

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Reckon they’ll go with-

    S Marsh
    M Marsh

    I’d love to see Handscomb in for Voges and Cummins just given a crack, play 4 quicks and bring Travis Head in for M Marsh as a batsman who can bowl some off-spin.

    Look forward to your Test reports CB.

  9. Luke – your team is the most likely given yesterday’s efforts by S.Marsh (mind you he only faced medium to slow trundlers). As a loyal Victorian you have picked Sidds. If he get wickets today and Bird went wingless yesterday he must be in front for selection. Moises forgot to part the waves for me yesterday and the NSW tyro Patterson must be on the move.
    Blood stained Angel – typical of a private school boy living in the past with your selections. Obvious to see you have not been keeping up with the Media reports.
    PW – Handscomb can’t be too far away. Symons unavailable as he has media commitments.
    Will enjoy my time in the media centre with Clarke, Katich and Symons in there together. Mundine v Green?

  10. Citrus,
    I reckon most of the spots pick themselves.
    Joe Burns was desperately unlucky not to be given a run at it after an excellent home summer – and Usman was stiff also. It just goes to show that some players – like Warner – are immune to the selectors’ whims.
    The team will be as follows:
    S Marsh
    M Marsh
    Cannot believe that Zampa is 12th man for South Australia.
    What is wrong with Australian cricket and its relationship with spin bowling?

  11. Peter Flynn says

    Play an 11 who are very good in home conditions. And there a lot of them. Raffle it. Who cares?

    And then watch said 11 make fools of themselves overseas when the ball deviates slightly more than the Planck length.

  12. All the recent Michael Clark crap has really turned me off the cricket. These blokes just aren’t likeable at all. They all have agendas, they all have egos bigger than Barak Obama, they all earn too much money, none of them gives a stuff about the idea of representing their country (they think the usual symbolic, patronising, crap of touching the flag as they enter the field each day is somehow a free ticket to behave like a knob (pewk)) – and none of them is any good!!

  13. It speaks volumes about the unsightly mess that this now is that we’re effectively running a sweep on who’s picked. Upon the T20 altar we’ve sacrificed tradition and now any worthy summer narrative.

    The BBL offers a nightly fish ‘n’ chip backdrop, but what of the rest? The trajectories are all wrong.

    I hear you Dips!

  14. Citrus Bob says


    Upon the retirement of Rodney Marsh I would suggest you contact Messrs O’Donnell, Flynn and Randall who have told me they would like to take over the role of selectors for Australian cricket.

    Cricket is in dire straits and somebody such as the three aforementioned have all the answers if you want to save the game.

  15. Citrus. No way do I want to be a selector!! The problem is not just the cricket fixture(s), it’s also the participants. Couldn’t be bothered with them.

  16. Peter Flynn says

    Citrus, I presume you mean Simon O’Donnell, Derek Randall and Daniel Flynn.

  17. Citrus Bob says

    Apologies PJF. I meant Rosie O’Donnell (confident of The Donald), Kikkan Randall (famous skier) and Errol Flynn (the cross dresser). All 3 know SFA about cricket.
    Heard today that the ICC are going to cut back on the amount of cricket being played by our “top level” players – DEH!
    Can you remember when our touring teams played a minimum of 24 games on tour?

  18. Peter Warrington says

    surely Voges is gone? everybody is scoring runs. except him. surely…???

  19. Citrus Bob says

    Unbelievable! According to Rod Marsh (ABC radio today) Jackson Bird missed out because “his batting needs improvement”> Marsh has out trumpeted The Donald. Time to go Rodney.
    Like saying Steve Smith and David Warner had better look after their bowling. Unbelievable!
    PW – you know the old saying “it is harder to get out of the test team than in it”
    Joe went for Mennie in South Africa just recently as well.

  20. John Butler says

    CB, I was equally amused by the Bird comment. Swampy’s turn as selector is making me yearn for the days of John Inverarity or Andrew Hilditch.

    Well, maybe not Hilditch….

  21. Luke well done. Reckon you have the XI spot on.
    They surely cannot play Mennie in front of P. Siddle can they? I can Faf and co having a ball in more ways than one. Catch up at the G.

  22. I would pick Shaun Graf ahead of Siddle

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