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Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Australian Test Team November 2007

With so many players moving on from the Australian Test team, it’s time to have a stab at who will front up for the side when they play their next Test, which isn’t until November this year.

1. Matthew Hayden. If he doesn’t pull the plug before then, he is a certainty.

2. Phil Jaques / Chris Rogers. These two are the standout next-in-line for opening the batting. In all reality, Jaques should now be the opener in the One Day team, especially with the others who have been tried now out of the side or injured. Jaques deserves first crack at it.

3. Ricky Ponting ©. Unless he gets hit by a bus.

4. Mike Hussey (vc). See above.

5. Michael Clarke. His century has shored up his position, and he looks a better player after his time out of the team.

6. Andrew Symonds / Shane Watson / Adam Voges / Marcus North. One is the incumbent. The next is the one the selectors have been wetting their pants over for 24 months. The next was (for some reason) in the Test squad for Perth. The last is the in-form middle order batsman in Australia. This will be one of the most interesting positions when November comes around. Symonds, as incumbent, should be expected to hold his spot.

7. Adam Gilchrist / Brad Haddin. I can’t see Gilchrist playing next season. If he does, he’s it. If he doesn’t, we lose nothing with Haddin, who has probably been the better bat of the two (on form) over the past two seasons.

8. Brett Lee. Must finally get the number 8 with Warne retiring. Surely.

9. Stuart Clark. Just imagine, if McGrath hadn’t taken all of 2006 off, Stu may still have yet to play a Test. And he was our best bowler in 2006. What a discovery.

10. Stuart MacGill / Cameron White / Dan Cullen / Beau Casson. MacGill is the obvious replacement for Warne, but he’s 35 and hasn’t been popular with selectors or team mates for years. White averages almost 50 with the bat, but has let his bowling slip since being made captain of Victoria at age 20. Cullen has been identified as the best off spinner in the country. Word around the traps is that Casson is the one who will be chosen in November. I would plump for MacGill initially. In the long term, I think Casson is a big chance, and that White should be our allrounder at 6 – if he gets serious about his bowling again.

11. Shaun Tait / Mitchell Johnson / Ben Hilfenhaus. All these three should have good international careers ahead of them. Tait is swift with good late inswerve. Johnson is swift, and being left arm offers variety. Hilfenhaus hits the deck hard, moves the ball off the seam and in the air. Any will do a job. Hilfenhaus looks like a 200 Test wicket bowler to me.

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