Sunday, November 20, 2016

Will Selectors Bear the Brunt of Their Wrong Doing?

So now that the XII has been selected for Adelaide (without my help on the selection panel), what can we make of the team, and also the selection panel themselves?
When you look at those that have missed out, it tells a tale in itself.

Both Callum Ferguson and Joe Mennie have been booted after just one Test, and also when the next Test is played on their home ground in Adelaide. What sort of message does this send to those in the Sheffield Shield? We picked them, and they failed in their first shot. Then we told Mennie not to play in South Australia's Shield game, he had to rest. Then we dropped him without a second thought. We also gave Ferguson the flick, despite his experience in first class cricket, and the unfortunate way he was dismissed in both innings in Hobart.
You know what that suggests? This is a selection panel that has no idea who is going to perform and who isn't, and if their selections don't immediately justify their selection, they'll get dumped and they'll try someone else. That is a dangerous position to be in. A very dangerous position.

Peter Nevill is without question the best gloveman in the country. Up until 1999 this is how we chose our wicket keepers. If they scored runs, that was a bonus and a grateful one. Then Adam Gilchrist appeared, and changed the landscape. He was followed by Brad Haddin, who did a similar job on a human level and not a superhuman level. So now it is suddenly expected that no matter how good a keeper you are, if you don't average high with the bat you will be discarded, no matter how good you are. So now we picked an inferior wicket keeper, simply because he may score more runs with the bat, to salvage what the top order has been failing to do. To say it is a disgrace that Wade has been picked in front of Nevill is a complete understatement. And this is the icing - in the Sheffield Shield this season Wade has 113 runs at 28.25. In TESTS this season Nevill has 92 runs at 30.66. This selection has no justification on any level. It is a selection for the sake of change, for the falsehood that one may score more runs than the other, and completely ignoring the fact that the likely more numerous missed chances will be far more costly. More black marks against the selection panel.

Joe Burns was also shown disdain, though he didn't help his own cause. Adam Voges is out concussed, which saved the panel the problematic issue of dropping a batsman with a Test average of over 60. Would he have been given the chance for redemption in Adelaide? Given the decisions made around him, it would appear unlikely. A Test career is likely over, and it deserved a better fate.

Was Nathan Lyon saved by the fact that both Stephen O'Keefe and Ashton Agar are AGAIN injured at the worst possible time? We won't know for sure, but it just appears that Lyon is untouchable. It seems that risks in selection will be taken with every other position in the side except the long reigning spinner. It is a concern. A big one.

So what about the selections to replace them? Peter Handscomb was a given, spoken of for some months as a likely selection, and when the occasion arrived he took it by the horns. He looks a long term prospect. Matt Renshaw did the same, scoring runs easily and competently at a time when an opportunity has arisen. So little is known of him that we will all be watching with interest. Nic Maddinson has been on the radar for a few years, but never really taken a good hold of the chances. His selection smacks of a favoured nation clause with one of the selectors that has pushed his cause through his media commitments for years. His record is only average, but his strength in hitting the ball hard as well as showing a spare arsenal in his part time left arm spin means he has been given his chance ahead of a more likely partner in Kurtis Patterson. Jackson Bird returns, in a reversal of what was said just two Tests ago in regards to his batting. Perhaps that only applies to wicket keepers now. And Chadd Sayers gets what is likely to be another chance to carry the drinks, despite a lack of penetration in the Shield game in Brisbane.

So what have we learned? We've learned that the selection panel doesn't know why this team is losing, and that it's solution to this is to throw a whole range of new and old options into the mix, and see if it becomes the solution. To me, it tells me a lot more about the unstable minds of the panel than the problems our cricket team is facing on the field. It all shapes up to be an interesting Test match in Adelaide, where the blame for failure or the credit for success will not lie with the true source.

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