Not long back, England publicly announced that they were starting a “New Era”.
You tend to do this after losing an Ashes Series 5-0 and then failing to make the finals stage of a World Cup.
Australia on the other hand didn’t need any of this “New Era” speak, for they had both won the Ashes in a clean sweep and dominated the World Cup.
Exact polar opposites.
But how quickly the game of cricket can rear up and bite you on the backside just as you start believe your own hype.
After this most recent Ashes loss, Australia has seen the Test retirement of five of their squad.
Clarke, Rogers, Watson, Haddin and Harris.
The common question is who will replace these guys?
But the more interesting one is does it really matter who it is?
For apart from Rogers, there is an argument to be made that the others have had little impact on the side for some time.
Take Clarke for example.
No one will ever forget his 100 in Adelaide after the death of Phil Hughes. But he played that innings on one leg and never got back to full fitness.
That innings was in December 2014. Since that time, he missed the next 3 Tests against India, most of the World Cup, hobbled through the West Indies and was ineffectual against England.
In fact, after those Adelaide heroics, Clarke averaged only 19.8 in 13 innings.
If he was being judged objectively, then he had no right to be in that side on form. A controversial statement, but one that is hard to refute with anything other than subjectivity.
What about Shane Watson?
During the Ashes, he lasted one Test. Mitch Marsh quickly took his spot.
However, Australia have a plague of all rounders at present who could all bat at six including Moises Henriques, James Faulkner and Glenn Maxwell.
Again, given Watson didn’t play in the final four Ashes Tests and was well out of form prior to that point, to replace him like for like in regards to output shouldn’t be too tough.
Ryan Harris’ retirement would be seen by many as a massive hole.
But yet again, the facts show he has hardly played in recent times. In fact, his last Test was January 6th this year.
Australia, through sheer necessity, has moved on without him. Compounding this, their fast bowling stocks are full to the brim.
Johnson, Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins, Siddle and Pattinson all have Test match experience. Behind them, another half dozen or so kids are just waiting for their chance.
Brad Haddin’s departure from the Test side was the most controversial one, but again on form was probably deserved.
Only twice had he raised his bat for a half century in the last two years. His keeping was also starting to drop off.
Australia chose to replace him with Peter Nevill. It could quite easily have been Matthew Wade as both have strong claims.
So, of the five retirees, only the departure of Chris Rogers is likely to be felt.
This grandmaster of old school opening batting left at the top of his game.
Replacing him with a player of similar output will be almost impossible in the short term.
Candidates include Joe Burns, Nic Maddinson and Cameron Bancroft.
But none have a Sheffield Shield record built through years of hard slog that force the selectors hand.
Australia will find replacements for the five guys it lost.
Only one of them has a difficult task ahead if they wish to be as effectual as their immediate predecessor.
Originally posted at The Quint
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