Australia look to start a new chapter through Justin Langer and Tim Paine…..
There was a lot of anticipation surrounding Australia’s ODI team that was to be named for the England series for two simple factors:
1. It was to be the first squad named after the Sandpaper gate saga and a new captain was in line to be announced
2. It was the first squad to be named after the appointment of Justin Langer as head coach.
When the announcement eventually came, there was a wee bit of confusion for the simple fact that a temporary captain in Tim Paine was named. But once Trevor Hohns clarified that the decision was to bring calm amidst the storm brewing in Australian cricket, it made better sense, although with a World Cup looming, there is unrest and uncertainty in the Australian camp.
ODI squad: Tim Paine (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Josh Hazelwood, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcuis Stoinis, Andrew Tye
A few points that stand out from Australia’s ODI team selection is discussed below.
Tim Paine’s ascendancy
The first thing that stands out from Tim Paine’s selection as temporary captain is that Cricket Australia want to bring stability to their leadership, something which was found to be lacking in the Steven Smith – David Warner era. However, Paine’s appointment on a temporary basis is still confusing for a couple of reasons.
The most obvious one is that Aaron Finch, the supposed next-in-line guy is in the squad but wasn’t considered for the captaincy role. The second is the fact that this could mean someone like Mitchell Marsh, who was overseen by Justin Langer at Western Australia, could be the captain who leads Australia at the World Cup in England.
If that does happen, Marsh might need as much time as possible to get accustomed to the role. It is understood that he was considered for captaincy but an untimely ankle injury prevented him from even being part of the team.
So who does lead Australia at the World Cup if Paine is a stop-gap option? There is Finch, of course, but if he is eventually the leader, why was he not given the captaincy right now? There is Shaun Marsh returning after a hiatus to the Australian ODI team but he would want to establish himself as a player first. Pat Cummins seems an outside candidate at this stage but if you want to bet, place your money on Paine continuing at least until after the World Cup.
Can Paine keep his place?
With Alex Carey picked in the squad, Paine will have to prove his ODI credentials as a keeper and batsman as much as donning the role of a leader. Despite his recent Test form, Paine hasn’t been a regular in the ODI team and will need to be on his toes with Carey right behind him.
The young Alex Carey is also considered a serious contender by Cricket Australia as is understood by his elevation to a leadership role in the T20 squad. The keeper battle will be one to watch out for in the build-up to the World Cup.
Nathan Lyon returns
After being sidelined for close to two years from the ODI squad, Australia finally feel that their Test spinner, Nathan Lyon, is the right man to partner their fearsome pace trio. His inclusion comes at the expense of Adam Zampa, who failed to impress the selectors.
“Nathan is our number one off-spinner and has excelled with the red ball, however, he is not new to white ball cricket and deserves his chance to push for World Cup selection,” Hohns had said. “England potentially have a number of left-handers in their side and we look forward to seeing what he can produce with the white-ball in English conditions.
“Adam hasn’t performed to the level we would have liked in recent times and we see this as a good opportunity for other spinning options to press their case ahead of the cricket World Cup,” he added.
Langer makes his presence felt
The return of Lyon, Shaun Marsh has Langer written all over it as has the installation of D’Arcy Short as a possible replacement for David Warner. The Marsh brothers are a favourite of Langer and Shaun Marsh was reformed under his guidance at Western Australia in 2012.
D’Arcy Short, on the other hand, was helped by Langer to work on his shortcomings and even played a few Sheffield Shield games for them last season under Langer. He could be the ideal replacement for Warner at the top given his ability to go bonkers from the word go.
The fact that he was selected over Chris Lynn further shows Langer’s insistence on fitness which had already come to the fore in his time with Western Australia. Lynn’s frequent injuries haven’t gone down well with Langer and despite the blistering batsmen playing the IPL, he isn’t deemed fit enough to make it to the Australian team.
The seam bowling department
The pace battery would be lead by Josh Hazlewood with Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins nursing injuries. The duo could return for the Tests against Pakistan but for now, the limited-overs pace bowling attack will have an inexperienced outlook.
Two Richardsons – Jhye and Kane – both known for their pace, along with Billy Stanlake, who impressed with his height and nippy pace and Andrew Tye make up the supporting cast for Hazlewood.
Of these, a maximum of two would likely make the World Cup squad although there could be outside contenders too. For now, Australia are prepared to dip their feet in untested waters before taking the plunge.