The 15-man Australian Test squad that will be taking on Sri Lanka was announced earlier today and it had some surprises in store for us all! Of course there are the notable and well respected names of Ponting, Hussey, Watson, Haddin and the new captain Michael Clarke. However, there are the surprise selections in Beer, Copeland, Shaun Marsh, Pattinson and South Australian spinner Nathan Lyon is probably the biggest of those!
The almost unknown spinner impressed the selectors with his bowling in the recent tri-series against Zimbabwe, where he represented Australia A. He was named player of the series after his performances with the ball, finishing with 11 wickets at an average of 16.63. Lyon has only played four first class matches, with figures of 12 wickets at an average of 43, however he has been in the spotlight for some time with ex-Victorian wicketkeeper Darren Berry often touting him as a man to watch out for. It was Berry himself who helped Lyon become noticed more, after selecting him to play for SA in the T20 Big Bash.
Trent Copeland is a bowler in the same vein as Glenn McGrath and Stuart Clark, in that he bowls from the wicket, to the wicket. Copeland is probably the easiest to see wearing the baggy green out of all the surprise inclusions, he is definitely the most consistent. From 17 matches Copeland has garnered 87 wickets with an excellent average of 21.68.
James Pattinson is an exciting young fast bowler that along with Mitchell Starc, should provide the pace bowling attack of the future for Australia. From six Sheffield Shield matches he has taken 19 wickets with an average of 29.47. Alot is expected of Pattinson so hopefully he can show form when given the opportunity, or the selectors give him time to find his footing. Like everyone else here.
Pattinson and Copeland will be fighting it out for a spot in the pace attack with Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris. So really, they will need one of those three to suffer an injury for a call-up, unless one of them bowl particularly bad….Harmison to second slip bad, consistently.
The selection of Shaun Marsh was always a possibility and really, we know what we are going to get with him. We’ve seen him perform wonderfully for Australia in the one-day form of the game, hopefully he can translate that to the Test format. Although he does only have an average of 37.97 in 60 first class matches, along with six centuries.
Notable exclusions from the side are – Ben Hilfenhaus, Doug Bollinger and Steve Smith. To some extent Jason Krejza is also a surprise exclusion, however he went to Zimbabwe and returned figures of only six wickets at an average of 41.33.
The full squad is – Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (capt), Michael Hussey, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Trent Copeland, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Michael Beer
My team from that squad would be – Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Usman Khawaja, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Ryan Harris, James Pattinson (12th man)
What are your thoughts on the 15-man squad, it seems that finally we are getting some youth into the Test team. Some youth that have tremendous upside if given the time to perform, which is what it all comes down to. The National Selection Panel is quick to “fire” someone after a poor performance, rather than give them time to find their footing. Take the current rotating door policy with our spinners as the best example.
So what do you think?