Rebuilding the Australian team

by Ben Dunn (in response to Dave Goodwin’s Punter’s Goose is Cooked)

Hey Dave,

We miss your not so hittable leg spinners and lusty hitting up here in

Consider the current Australian side:


Now of that side how many will play in the Boxing Day Test in 4 years time?

Watson – maybe but unlikely as he’ll be 33 and given he struggles to convert
starts into scores he’s only a series away from oblivion. The drop in his
bowling pace is alarming and an indication of how he will unravel
Hughes – age wise OK but probably needs to score 4000+ runs in the next 3
shield seasons to demand a game. Younger players in Maddinson and Hill will
go past past
Ponting – enough said.
Clarke – won’t be around. Is getting found out and has a heart the size of a
pea. Will be 32/33 and batsmen are in the twilight then. Has fewer
supporters by the day in Australian cricket.
Hussey – will survive to the end of next summer but no longer
Smith – short form cricketer. Not good enough with either bat or ball to
warrant a Test spot. Like Hughes needs to go back to shield cricekt for a
long time. Realistically, he needs to bat at 8 and bowl a lot more. Doesn’t
have the technique to play in the Test top 6 as a bat.
Johnson – maybe but needs to get mentally stronger. 2 series losses to the
English have been blighted by his underperformance. We cant win big series
with the amount of time being put into him to the exclusion of the team.
Siddle – probably. Growing into a Merv Hughes type of player. Won’t destroy
sides but will be honest all of the time. Every side needs one of these.
Hilfenhaus – basically found out at Test level. The fact is you need to be
able to bowl on different sorts of wickets and be effective. The English
know he’s unthreatening so have been prepared to leave him. Not expensive
but has beaten the bat less than half a dozen times during the series. Will
never bowl a side out.
Harris – Lion hearted but ankle injury is the end. At least 6-12 months
re-hab with a dicky knee as well. Not the future. Sorry.

Also, there’s Katich, but at 35 he won’t be around next Ashes series and
while some are tempted to bring him back, he’s not the future.

OK – so by my reckoning Siddle & Johnson will be around, and possibly
Clarke and Watson. Hughes and Smith will be plying their trade in Shield
cricket. The balance will have retired. If I’m right that is an enormous
change to the current side.

So what do we do? First thing is the off field administration has to change.
Nielson and Hilditch need to go. Our preparation for the last 12 months
leading into this game has been haphazard and sloppy. The English have
clearly beaten us off the field before they got here. For that heads must

Also, they have to get some control over state cricket…it is ridiculous
that state sides are picking players that will never play Test cricket. Why
for instance is Victoria still picking Damian Wright and Darren Pattinson to
open the bowling??? Both are well over 30 and Darren Pattinson actually
played a Test for England 3 years ago. WTF are the Victorian selectors
thinking? Yeah, winning a Shield is nice but clogging the state system with
plodders is why our team has no structure and a bunch of 30yo journey men.
This needs to be fixed urgently.

You also need to get the Test players back and playing Shield cricket.

And what will the side look like 3 years from now? I’m guessing something
like this…

Clarke (c)
Shaun Marsh
O’Keefe/Smith (smith is the better bat but O’Keefe is a genuine spinner. But
left arm spinners haven’t traditionally been match winners)

Anyway, the last wicket has fallen at the MCG and the Ashes are gone. Now the
re-building starts!


  1. James Pattinson and “Young Billy”(Alistair) McDermott are chances. Big wraps on Trevor Barsby’s boy. Maddinson seems able to bat for a while…none of this recklessness so apparent in techniques these days. I’ve never been impressed with Smith’s bowling at 1st Class level but can now see that he cannot possibly make it as a batsman (boundary slapper). Wade’s good behind the sticks…is it true the Vics are playing the annoying Prior in the 20/20?…why deprive a local?
    I’m for pushing up Shaun Marsh now to see his calibre (should have played in Perth and Hughes demoted).He and his brother Mitch have inherited good leadership skills.
    Glad that the focus on Shield should henceforth be intense. Let’s hope the selectors, whoever they might be, pay attention.

  2. I agree crio, as a bannana bender mcdermott’s and barsby’s boy for me also

  3. #1. Yes, Crio. Why play Prior? It’s almost as though they feel they HAVE to have two internationals in the team because they CAN.


  4. Peter Flynn says


    Spot on re Victorian policy.

  5. God, I hope Clarke isn’t captain in four years time. Both Cameron White and Tasmania’s George Bailey have been good Shield captains. If White is considered as a batsman rather than an allrounder and if Bailey recovers his form of last season then the choice ought to be between those two.

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