Australia is about to face a 4 Test series against India.
Nah, me neither.
You just know that India will be rubbish playing away from home.
To weaken the Indians even further, MS Dhoni is likely to be up on charges of corruption following the release of the Mudgal Committee report.
However, there is still some intrigue.
Who the hell is in Australia’s best Test XI?
We know for sure that the Australian selectors will find someone who hasn’t earned their place via a mountain of Shield runs or wickets to play.
How do I know this?
Well, I’ve complied the list of Australia’s last XI debutantes.
Not one of them has played more than 5 Test matches.
Think about that for a minute.
Of the last XI debutantes for Australia, not one has made it past 5 Test matches.
The Australian Selectors like to gamble. They just pluck players from nowhere and let them fail.
I would never be in a lotto syndicate with an Australian Selector.
We wouldn’t even get one number right.
Anyhow, I’ve taken a detailed look at the most recent XI Australian Test debutantes.
There isn’t much joy in this piece from here on.
Came into the side to protect Phil Hughes from the nasty South Africans, even though Hughes’ best record is against the nasty South Africans.
Left an indelible mark on the game by forever linking anyone who makes a 9 to his name after his first Test innings at the Gabba
‘How did you go?’
‘Made a Quiney’
‘Oh…better luck next time. Bet it looked awesome though!’
But Rob didn’t have any better luck next time. His following and final Test at the Adelaide Oval netted him a pair.
I couldn’t make this story up if I tried.
Australia was playing South Africa in Perth (Nov 2012). The winner would earn the title of the best Test team in the World.
Perth. A fast bowlers paradise.
Peter Siddle was ready.
He had just taken 4/65 in his last spell against the Saffas in Adelaide off a herculean 33 overs. He had to bowl that many because James Pattinson had gone down with an injury.
It wasn’t enough to get Australia over the line (match was drawn), but the guy just kept putting in and putting in.
He was Australia’s hero. The People’s Champion.
Despite Siddle’s protests, the Australian selectors decided to ‘rest’ him for the final Test.
Rest him to be ready for what? The end of season trip? It still has me shaking my head in disbelief to this day.
Anyhow, up jumps John Hastings to replace him.
Match figures of 1/153 left him with just a solitary Test cap and South Africa with the title of the best in the world.
2 Tests of total brilliance versus Sri Lanka from Jackson Bird, 1 average one against England and then he was gone.
Still, an Average of 23.3 and a Strike Rate of 48.6 leave him clearly a better swing bowler than James Anderson.
Against Sri Lanka, he averages 16 with a strike rate of 34. That’s God like numbers
He was dropped for the start of the 2013 Ashes in England, but came back for the 4th Test. He didn’t play in the 5th despite his important 0* and 1* with the bat.
Born in Portugal (I added that just so that English readers will know I’m 100% balanced and fair), Moises exploded onto the Test scene at a time when Australia would have picked a team of XI all rounders if they could have.
His first two innings against India of 68 and 81* gave him a higher batting Test average than Don Bradman.
His last Test at Mohali was riddled by the infamous ‘Homework Gate‘ incident.
At least he can say ‘I was there’.
Maxwell also debuted in the same Test series as Moises.
Australia was desperate for an IPL player with a $1 million dollar price tag to save them from Ohja and Ashwin.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t select another IPL millionaire like Ravi Jadeja, as he was playing for the opposition.
Maxwell failed in that India series with both bat and ball, although he was used to open the innings with both during the tour.
Given that result, it was clear to everyone (and I mean no one) why he was selected to play Pakistan in the UAE at number 3. He also kept wicket when Haddin went down with injury.
Despite all of this, he has a better Test strike rate than James Anderson.
He will most likely be remembered for saying a reverse sweep is no more risky than a cover drive.
The guy with the nicest smile in cricket (or is that George Bailey) was a net bowler on the 2013 Ashes Tour.
After coach Darren Lehmann saw him beat Michael Clarke a few times, it was decided that he would play to probe Kevin Pietersen’s known weakness against slow left arm rubbish.
It didn’t work.
2 Tests, 2 wickets at a bowling average of 124 and a strike rate of 252. One of those wickets was Alastair Cook.
He did however make an inspired 98 in a partnership with Phil Hughes before Graeme Swann caught him in the deep.
Unlikely to be seen again in the baggy green
Played in the last Test of the Ashes tour of 2013.
Proved himself to be very capable with the ball, taking 6/98 for the match.
Also handy with the bat.
Lost his spot in the return Ashes to injury and some guy named Mitch Johnson
Likely to play more Tests at some stage in the future.
I expect he will be selected to open the batting with Doug Bollinger.
5 Tests. 5 wins.
Has never played in a losing Australian Test side.
He also shares a Test World record with Brian Lara in that he has hit 28 runs off an over. Did I mention that he did it off James Anderson’s bowling?
George forced his way into the team with a combination of excellent ODI batting leading up to the series and a group of Australian selectors who couldn’t work out if Hughes, Cowan, Khawaja, Moises, Maxwell or Ronald McDonald was the next big thing.
Unfortunately for George, he was dropped for the subsequent tour of South Africa for a combination of Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh. God help us.
For some reason, Alex Doolan was seen as a logical number 3 to play against South Africa.
Australia won the series 2-1. Alex Doolan passed the 50 mark just once in 6 attempts.
Another chance beckoned against the Pakistanis in the UAE.
However, after running himself out for 5, followed by a duck in the 2nd innings, meant that he was replaced for the next Test by Glenn Maxwell.
Yep. Glenn Maxwell.
That’s got to hurt.
Well, probably not as much as this quote from his Cricinfo profile does:
The formula for getting selected in the Austalian Test team is becoming clearer.
Play 9 ODI’s.
Ensure some of them are against Zimbabwe. In fact, lose one to Zimbabwe.
Slog the ball around and average very little. Average 39 with the ball.
Make sure Shane Watson is injured.
Make sure the selectors have forgotten about James Faulkner.
Make sure your brother has already got his baggy green without earning it.
Finally, ensure Dad is a former national coach.
To be fair to O’Keefe, have a 1st Class average of less than 26 takes some doing in Australia for a spinner.
To be fair to Stephen O’Keefe, he bowled more pies than the Four ‘n’ Twenty factory can make in a month during his single Test against Pakistan.
Add him to the Jason Krejza of failed Test spinners since Warne, expect that Krejza took 12 wickets on debut against India in India.
After his 2nd Test in Perth, he never played for Australia again either.
Am I being harsh? Not harsh enough?
The comments section below is now open.
Speak now or forever hold your peace
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