Saturday, November 19, 2011
Trying to sort out the quicks
This crystal ball gazing is a bit tricky, but with young Cummins getting a guernsey at The Wanderers, picking up a couple of wickets, and apparently looking the pick of the bowlers when it comes to taking more, slot him in there there at Eleven.
That leaves one more spot in a four man pace battery. We have Cummins as the tearaway, Harris/Hilfenhaus/Siddle to do the donkey work, Watson to pitch it up assuming he's fit and a slot to fill. Until he broke down in the Shield game at the Gabba I was inclined towards Bollinger, but with him out injured, that last spot goes to who bowls the best out of the pace battery named for the Australia A game against the Kiwis. I've already got Hilfenhaus in the other bracket, and with Harris unlikely, there could well be room for him and Siddle in the same side, a factor I'd been veering away from previously, so another bracket of Hilfenhaus, Cutting, Pattinson and Starc.
I'd probably like the fourth bloke to be a lefty for the different angle, so that'd leave Starc as the favourite going into the bowl-off, where anything could happen and probably will.
On the lefty front, with Western Australia down to play South Australia at the WACA in early December I'd be sending Johnson over there, with an instruction to get a swag of wickets before a possible horses for courses return in the Third Test against India (if not earlier). If he's as confidence influenced as has been suggested, you probably need to do things like that.
Which moves us here, with a bit of reshuffling at the bottom.
Hughes, Warner, Three, Watson, Clarke, Six, Keeper, Eight, Harris/Hilfenhaus/Siddle, Cummins, Hilfenhaus/Cutting/Pattinson/Starc, Lyon
The keeper's spot is obviously going to depend on how Haddin goes at The Wanderers, with Wade as the likely replacement. Leave them as a bracket selection for the moment.
Hughes, Warner, Three, Watson, Clarke, Six, Haddin/Wade, Eight, Harris/Hilfenhaus/Siddle, Cummins, Hilfenhaus/Cutting/Pattinson/Starc, Lyon
Next question. Do we need a spinner in Brisbane? Maybe you need one in the squad, and we've got Lyon there already but let's assume he's going to be the twelfth man.
So, Eight could be a fifth quick, which would cover for Harris and Watson, since both have to be question marks at the moment as far as lasting the game and bowling the requisite number of overs. Maybe another all-rounder. Macdonald? Henriques?
Alternatively, you could go for the leg spinning Smith at Seven and move the Keeper to eight.
But that's enough for now. We'll put that to one side for the moment and return tomorrow to ponder how we fit two out of Ponting, Marsh, Khawaja and Hussey into Three and Six.