The bickering and criticism that has been unleashed at the selection of the squad for the first test leaves me puzzled.
Surely Australians are not that hypocritical of who plays? Sure, some are better than others, but is it really necessary to have a yelling match?
I’m a huge of fan of Rob Quiney, the man who has come in to the 1st Test squad to replace the injured Shane Watson. He has been a consistent and level-headed cricket during his Victorian career. He is not a name plucked from obscurity: he has established his place in the Victorian line-up, and deserves this chance.
There is no doubt Australian cricket is seeing another overhaul. Brad Haddin has been shifted to second-choice wicketkeeper, Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey are definitely in the twilight of their international careers, and now Shane Watson is another injury cloud.
Ultimately, this will spell a change of guard. However, this time around there seems to be a much bigger abundance of players to call on.
Firstly, Watson: the man has more talent then he is given credit for. He can smash the ball a mile, and still bowl at speeds of more than 130 kph. He has, however, had a horrid run with injuries, the most recent a calf strain sustained in a Sheffield Shield game at Allan Border Field. This latest injury cloud has given rise to several questions over his career, the most important of which is: will he play for Australia again?
The calf strain, according to reports, is only minor, and Watson has not been ruled out (yet) for anything after the Gabba Test. This has, however, given Quiney the chance of a lfietime: a test debut against the number one ranked team. He wasn’t picked just on the back of his 85 and 11 not out for Australia A; Quiney has been a regular part of the Victorian Bushrangers team for the better part of five years, and has established himself as a very level-headed player.
Of course, many of the fans (and the selectors) will be hoping that Quiney can repay the faith and play well. Now this may mean a century on debut, a phenomenal fielding game, or simply giving a decent contribution to the team. No one will know until the game is over.
What is certainly obvious is the Australian line-up seems brittle. Our bowling attack (Pattinson, Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Starc) is looking like they’re having a far better time of it. It may be our pace attack will be the ultimate winner for us.
The batters, despite a lean run of form for some coming into the test, cannot be “discarded.” David Warner has matured into a much better player, but still needs to work on some technique and concentration issues. Ricky Ponting was in scintillating form against India last summer, and if he can recover from a hamstring issue, could find last summer’s form. Michael Hussey will be looking to provide the ‘rock’ role for Australia, while captain Michael Clarke has found some beautiful form in the last twelve months.
Quiney is deserved of the chance to represent Australia. Many journalists (such as Jesse Hogan) and Australian state cricket associations have applauded the decision for him to be called up. Maybe there is a drama over the selection team, given we are facing one of the best teams in the world. However, I can relate to the opinion of wanting to have the strongest possible side on the field. But please, don’t whinge over the squad for the Gabba test. It is a solid squad, and I can only imagine the headaches the selection panel must get when having to sit down and sort out the possibilities for each match.
So good luck to Quiney, and the rest of the side.