Ashes 2010: Australia 17 Man Squad Keeps England Guessing

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Ashes 100-1 Countdown: 10 Days Until the Ashes

So this morning cricket Australia announced an obscenely large 17 man squad 10 days before the Ashes because of apparent “financial and marketing strain” placed upon them. The squad of 17 is larger than the entire England touring party and contains 3 spinners in Hauritz, Doherty and Smith which also seems somewhat excessive. What turned about to be a media non-event has been met by a scathing attack from Peter English at CricInfo. If the selectors hands were truly forced to name a squad so early by the marketing powers that lie within Cricket Australia, I feel Mr English’s attack is unwarranted and contravenes what’s best for the Australian cricket team.

An interesting sidenote exists here if we take a holistic approach to analysing the squad for a moment. The names selected for the tour party itself have not gone down so well with certain sections of the fans. Some notable exceptions in the tour party are Cameron White (a possible candidate for the captaincy); Philip Hughes (considered the next Bradman not so long ago) and Andrew McDonald (arguably the most in form all rounder in Australia). Yet to be frank, these exceptions come as no surprise with all three of the candidates much more likely to play a role in the inevitable rebuilding process.

Going back to the issue of the colossal squad then picking 17 players makes more sense than a streamlined 12 or 13. A lot of cricket is to be played in the week leading up to the opening test as there is a full round of the Sheffield Shield alongside the Australia A – England game at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart. Frankly it is better for Australia to keep England guessing rather than locking in a team compromising of a few too many players struggling for form. What if Usman Khawaja scores a big ton against England and continues his rich vein of form? What if Xavier Doherty takes a five wicket haul? What if Marcus North and Michael Hussey continue to fail with the bat? These are questions that the Australian selectors need to know the answers to before they trim down their squad to a more respectable size.

Australia squad Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Marcus North, Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson, Brad Haddin (wk), Steven Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Xavier Doherty, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Doug Bollinger.

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