The announced Australian squad for the upcoming Indian tour plagues of inconsistency and irrational thinking.
The squad reinforces the fact that consistent run making at state level will no longer be the determining factor for international selection. To the detriment of Australia’s short and long term future, Cricket Australia are rewarding “potential” at the expense of proven performance.
Australian selectors’ track record suggests we should expect anything but transparency and high-class managerial skills. Over the Australian summer alone, sacrificial lambs have been served up to the South Africans, ala Rob Quiney, just to protect other assets like Phil Hughes. Failed project players like Steve Smith have been dug out of the old dusty closet to make ODI appearances and now named in the squad to tour India.
Without disrespecting Smith, clearly other state players have surged well ahead of him in talent and production. Since Smith’s last test appearance against Pakistan in 2010, he boasts one first-class ton from 40 innings and 17 wickets at 73.11.
What swayed the selectors minds to select Smith in the test squad? Was it Smith’s solitary wicket this Sheffield Shield season or was it his inability to not post a century this summer?
“He’s played well but just hasn’t got the runs this year,” Chairman of Selectors John Inverarity said of Smith’s selection.
After posting 3 consecutive ducks in high school cricket, I proposed similar reasoning to my coach yet to my displeasure I was knocked back.
Why should we feel content and satisfied with CA?
Spinner Xavier Doherty’s selection is even more perplexing. Doherty has taken just the two scalps this Sheffield Shield season. New South Welshman Steve O’Keefe is the more deserving player with 17 wickets at 24.29.
CA is dangerously nurturing an environment that rewards unfulfilled prodigal talent over tough, committed and proven production. Furthermore, CA’s implementation of the “rotation policy” not only fuels this unhealthy culture but also counters Michael Clarke’s efforts to instill dogged toughness into the Australian dressing room.
In what can only be described as the most crucial 12 months in Australian cricket, both on and off the field, since the Allan Border-era, Inverarity and his team of selectors have missed the boat once again.