Bangladesh-bound – analysis of Australia’s 13-man squad

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Australia made a few surprising changes to their squad for Bangladesh. Photo: IBTimes India

Australia have named their test squad to tour Bangladesh at the end of August, with a number of familiar faces rejoining the side.

The biggest news to come out of the announcement was that Steve O’Keefe, Australia’s 19 wicket hero in last February’s tour of India, has been dropped from the squad following comments he made about a female cricketer at NSW’s end of season awards night.

This is without doubt the right call. Although, Trevor Hohn’s statement tends to suggest that O’Keefe was dropped on form, not for his alleged ‘booze fueled’ antics that have seen him receive a ban from this year’s Matador Cup; a competition he may not have featured in anyway.

“Whilst Steve O’Keefe bowled well in Pune, he did not maintain this level in the remaining matches of the series and we believe the timing is right for Ashton to enter the set-up and test his all-rounder ability,”

In fact, at no point in Cricket Australia’s article on the announcement of the 13-man squad are his actions mentioned. Disappointing given the progress of women’s cricket in this country. Surely we must at least acknowledge it to show that a precedent has been set and that such irreverence will not be tolerated.

Starc has also been left out of the squad, and while his omission is cited as being the result of an injury, it is hard to think that this is indeed the case given his participation in the Champions Trophy recently.

“…despite playing in Australia’s failed Champions Trophy campaign, the left-armer’s injury has not fully healed and he has subsequently been ordered rest with an Ashes campaign on the horizon.”

I understand him being rested for the Ashes, but to use an injury as just cause after participating in a world tournament that concluded no more than a week ago is unfair to paying supporters and Bangladesh Cricket, who are trying to cement their spot in the test playing ranks and earn more regular fixtures against the world’s leading side’s. Still, though, they are treated like second rate citizens.

It seems to be yet another example of CA refusing to send their best team to play in a test series that is perceived as meaningless and where television rights are purchased at bottom dollar, even though they will look the fools if Bangladesh embarrass Australia just like they did England at the back-end of last year.

Starc’s omission has, however, opened the door for Pattinson to return to the side. Young all-rounder Hilton Cartwright, whose selection before last summer’s Sydney test caused quite a stir, has also been included in the squad, meaning Australia will travel with a total of two all-rounders following the announcement of Agar’s selection as cover for O’Keefe.

Unsurprisingly, there was no room for Shaun Marsh who, it appears, has used up all his credit with the Australian selectors; Khawaja has instead been reinstated after missing the tour to India in February.

This is a big tour for the elegant left-handed batsmen who has fallen out of favor with selectors in recent times on tours to the sub-continent.

Since Graeme Swann got the better of him in the 2013 Ashes series, and following his torrid tour of Sri Lanka this time last year, Khawaja’s susceptibility to the turning ball has seen him miss a significant amount of cricket in Asian conditions.

This tour might finally settle the score and decide what role he plays in future tours to the sub-continent. My tip is that his class will outshine the guile of Shakib and the immense talent of Mahedi Hasan.

The rest of the team is as expected. All that is left to be finalised now is the MOU. Hopefully we receive some clarity on this matter in the not to distant future.

2 thoughts on “Bangladesh-bound – analysis of Australia’s 13-man squad

  1. sillypointcricketsite June 20, 2017 / 7:26 pm

    I can’t help but think Australia like to overthink selection sometimes. Selecting Cartwright then not. Dropping Khawaja for better suited to Asia Marsh then swapping again.

    Would like to see Agar get up ‘n’ running again in Test cricket and English Second Division counties will welcome a respite from James Pattinson.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jordan Crick June 21, 2017 / 3:59 am

      Totally agree. It has been going on for some time now. I wish they would settle on Khawaja and back him in all conditions. He’s a real talent and his form in the Ashes will go a long way to deciding how Australia perform. In my opinion, first drop is the most important position in the batting order and if you have a player there that isn’t being given frequent game-time or faith from the selectors, then it is difficult for him to gain any confidence or indeed any semblance of form. Goodness knows how this would unsettle the batting order, who have had to deal with switching between Marsh and Khawaja for the last 5 test series or more. (I think it stretches way back to the Indian tour of 2014 where Marsh was given the nod ahead of Khawaja.)

      I could write a whole article on Khawaja because since his debut half a decade ago he has been treated poorly – shafted from opening, then to number three, then out of the side altogether.

      Also agree with you re. Pattinson. Hasn’t he been fantastic in Div. 2. Read somewhere today that he has taken 21 wickets at 10.9. How he isn’t ahead of Cummins (who I believe is himself a rare breed) in the fast bowling pecking order is beyond me.

      Like

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