A novice’s thoughts on the Australian Test Team

The Australian’s leave the field during their test series against India. (Photo by: Getty Images/Cricket Australia) (Non-commercial use).

A dominant record at a fortress was relinquished, and so to Australia’s faith in their test team – it was the first time in over 30 years that the Australian’s had been defeated at the Gabba and wasn’t the fallout jarring.

Had Australia taken those ten wickets against India, on the final day, there would be no cause for panic, but they didn’t – which means us, the ones that watch from our couches at home must be be overly critical and call for dramatic change as a result of this anomaly. 

Early last year Prime Minister Scott Morrison found himself at odds with some of the Australian public over his handling of the bushfire crisis. 

This time around it’s the man with the second most important title in the country fighting for his position, Australian Test Captain, Tim Paine. 

I love Australians, but we are very quick to turn on our own, wasn’t Paine the one that restored respect and integrity to the Australian Test team amid crisis, leading us to retaining the Ashes in England? 

Now it seems that the general consensus is that he’s no longer the man for the job and needs to be ousted, despite no ready-made replacement aggressively knocking down that door. 

Would it be unreasonable to expect Australians to accept the series loss against India and move on? 

Afterall, we didn’t play bad cricket, India in fact played quite brilliantly after their disastrous First Test in Adelaide, and showed remarkable character in coming back from 0-1. 

Cricket Australia has announced it’s test squad for the tour of South Africa in March and I’m pleased to see that the much-maligned selection panel hasn’t gone rogue on the incumbents. 

Tim Paine will captain and keep wicket for Australia, as I believe he should do, until an appropriate replacement arrives. 

Incidentally, when will that be? Travis Head was named vice-captain and has yet to nail down a spot in Australia’s batting order, highlighted by losing his own position at number five during the summer.

Pat Cummins, the pride and joy of Australian cricket, is the other deputy, he can do everything else – why can’t he captain? But can you really have a fast bowler in the top job?

Australia could fall on their sword and give the leadership back to Steve Smith, which I’m not totally in love with nor totally against – but you could imagine the public outcry. 

Captaincy aside, Australia’s main problems lie within their top six batting; but I believe it’s a relatively easy fix. 

David Warner and Will Pucovski should open the batting at the top, with batting revelation Marnus Labuschagne at first drop followed by the flamboyant Smith – that’s three of the best batsmen in world cricket in your top four.

I would follow this with Travis Head at five and Cameron Green at six, under a kind of ‘pick and stick’ policy, it’s time selectors gave some of these younger talents an extended run in the squad. Does anyone know what on earth happened to Kurtis Patterson? (averages 144 in test cricket)

Sheffield Shield form simply hasn’t been there to guide us in recent times, not since the emergence of the late Phillip Hughes or Usman Khawaja have we seen a youngster really force his way into the test side. 

Pucovski was perhaps the exception this summer, and we are all holding our fingers crossed that he thrives in the test arena. 

Our bowling attack, which I still believe is the best in world cricket toiled hard but couldn’t break through on day five this summer. 

Cummins and Hazelwood were their exceptional selves whilst Starc bowled without luck at times and Lyon didn’t have the desired impact. 

I still trust that those are our best four bowlers, however the 2019 Ashes series in England showed the value in rotating the faster bowlers more regularly, I would love to see James Pattinson play for Australia more often – he would have to be my favourite cricketer to watch with the amount of intensity and aggression he brings to the crease. 

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