Almanac Cricket – Why Moises Henriques may be an Ashes smokey

Why Moises Henriques may be an Ashes smokey

 

 

At 32, Moises Henriques might still have his best cricket in front of him. This, at a time when Australian cricket is lacking a genuine all-rounder to pitch against Ben Stokes and Co from the old enemy in the 2019 Ashes series.

 

There are several clues to this seemingly daft inclination of mine. (At least most experts don’t seem to have the New South Welshman in the Ashes squad!)

 

Statistical evidence alone can admittedly be a poor predictor of selection decisions. For instance, it can be easy to boost your batting average with an unbeaten 150 in the second innings of an inconsequential game which is fizzling out to a draw.  This may have been one of Moises traits  in the past.

 

However in the recent Sheffield Shield game against Queensland his efforts were instrumental in NSW winning the game and keeping their Shield hopes alive: 16, 0/12, 78 and 3/7 (excellent  numbers in the pivotal second innings) which earnt him Player of the Match).

 

Lets look, then, at his career stats against the career first class records of the perceived front-runners for the all-rounder spot-

 

It has oft been said that a true all-rounder (eg IT Botham) is one who averages around 35 with the bat and 30 with the ball.  In the case of Botham it was 33 with the bat and 28 with the ball. In other words they are capable of playing as a specialist batsman or bowler.

 

 

Henriques certainly doesn’t bowl a lot of overs but his career numbers are closer to the “Botham standard” than the other three players. For the record, he has taken 110 wickets in his career over 110 innings. So, the Aussies would be happy if he could maintain that strikepower at Test level.( As the fifth bowler he may not even be required to bowl in every innings.)  He also has the ability to vary the tempo of his innings as the game situation requires.

 

Marcus Stoinis– good player but doesn’t make Shield tons. Inferior batting record against the swinging Duke ball used in the second-half of the last few Shield seasons (180 runs at 16)

 

Glenn Maxwell– A batting all-rounder who bowls mediocre off-spin. Australia  already has a world-class off-spinner at our disposal! Also, flaky batting technique against the Duke (117 runs at 19.) But, there may yet be room in the squad to include Maxwell as a specialist batsman. (See my squad below).

 

Mitchell Marsh– Unconvincing technique. The final two Shield rounds will be crucial for Mitch to restore his own confidence and book a seat to England. I feel though that selectors may opt for a batting all-rounder given our bowling has generally been rock solid but the batting is brittle.

 

Of course Henrique’s detractors will point to his poor last Test outing against Sri Lanka several years ago and his troublesome injuries. Also his publicised mental health battle may be seen by some as “baggage.”

 

When Henriques made his Shield debut in 2006 it was considered by some good judges that he had as much natural talent as Mark Waugh. The seed then may have been slow to germinate but the fruit is now starting to ripen nicely.

 

Whether Moises adds to his four Tests will be determined by performances in the final two Shield games. But the Portuguese-born veteran must be nearly ready to be “picked” again.

 

Now, just for fun my Ashes squad, not in any particular order-

 

Warner

Harris

Bancroft

K Patterson- is vulnerable but should hold his spot                                                                                                                                                 

Smith

Khawaja

Head vc

Pucovski

Henriques

Maxwell

Paine c

Cummins vc

J Richardson

Hazelwood

Starc

J Pattinson- a brave call but if fit worth the risk

Lyon

 

NB I have included 3 specialist openers and no reserve wicketkeeper. Bancroft has kept wickets before so he could fill-in at short notice. Burns is unlucky to miss but Bancroft was actually the incumbent before ’that’ incident so I have chosen him.  That sets up an intriguing duel between Harris and Bancroft to partner Warner in the First Test.

 

Notable omissions- Burns, Renshaw, Labushagne, Wade, Neser, Tremain, Marsh brothers and Jon Holland. Would have liked to include at least one Queenslander in the tour party so Allan Border may well resurrect his career! As Ian Hauser has already started a topic already on Ashes teams may I add mine to the list.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Lots to comment on here, dan1969! You make a good case for Henriques, especially with regard to his batting against the Duke ball. After what I saw at the Gabba on Monday, not many can say they handle it very well. Please, not Maxwell (too many misses between big hits and a divisive figure – there’s already one of those in Warner!); Mitch Marsh has had a poor time of late; Shaun is yesterday’s man. Stoinis is the only real alternative and seems to be in favour at the moment.

    You’ve been pretty tough on my Bulls candidates, especially Joe Burns, a last Test centurion. I like Renshaw but he looked dreadful the other day (but then, who didn’t?); Labuschagne is a Test player in the making and also seems to find favour, possibly for his leggies. Michael Neser is quicker than I thought and has demonstrated that the Duke works for him, but his batting probably isn’t up to what it needs to be. I think he’s a case of ‘watch this space’. Another Bull’s allrounder to file for future reference is Mark Steketee whose second half of the season has been good with both bat and ball.

    Pucovski is a dilemma. One side of me says to take him along for the experience and to grow him into the team over the next few years; the other side of me asks whether or not we’re doing him any favours by pushing him at a time when he may not be settled within himself. James Pattinson is a good fit when fit but he isn’t fit so I can’t fit him in. Bancroft’s late season form makes him hard to overlook, as does his back-up keeper capability.

    Let’s see what transpires. Meanwhile, I’ll add your squad to my collection to see who wins bragging rights once the selectors do their thing.

  2. Interesting assessment. I must admit Henriques was not on my radar. But he may well be suited to English conditions and adds flexibility. What is his county cricket record like?

  3. A well constructed argument, Dan. But I just cannot see him being selected.
    Moises has bowled only 25 overs and taken only 4 wickets for the Shield season (which includes the 3 fa you referenced). Not sure that I would be selecting him as an all-rounder on that basis.

  4. No one talking about Dan Worrall? I’d take him as a genuine English type bowler.

  5. Dips, the issue with Worrall is injury.
    He has missed two of the past three SA Shield games due to injury.
    The same reason I would not take Pattinson.

  6. Although it is nice to see him running through NSW today…

  7. Henriques performance in the current shield match 1& 0, does not augur well.

    Last time i checked Pattinson had 5 of the 9 second innings wickets.Glen!

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