The games mightn't be over, and the selection of the team for the First Test against the Poms still a fortnight away, but some worrying signs have emerged in the last two days of two important Sheffield Shield matches.
In Adelaide, South Australia have made Western Australia follow on even
though they lost most of the first day to rain. the Croweaters declared
at 8/452 after they made Mitchell Johnson and his
fellow bowlers look abysmal. Michael Klinger and fellow Victorian import
Aiden Blizzard made runs, but it was the composed century by Callum Ferguson
that must have made Greg Chappell sit up and take notice. Out of the
game for over 12 months due to a knee injury, his first innings in a
first class match on his return was this one, and from all reports it
was chanceless 129. Ferguson is definitely at the front line when it
comes to future Australian Test batsmen, and his chance may not be as
far away as some say.
Western Australia were felled for only 295, of which Shaun Marsh scored 137. Michael Hussey
was given leave from the Twenty20 match tonight to play this Shield
game to find some form. His first ball duck has complicated matters no
end. Marcus North needed runs despite his century in
India and his 94 not out in the Ryobi Cup match last week. His 10 leaves
his position vulnerable - if only the selection panel had the bottle to
choose a replacement for him.
Meanwhile, in Brisbane, Usman Khawaja scored 60 in New
South Wales first innings on the track that the First Test will be
played. Following on from his big double hundred against South Australia
two weeks ago, his name must be chiseling its way into Australia's
Surely it would be folly to take batsmen into the First Test who are
palpably out of runs. And surely it is folly not to picked a young
batsman while they are in red hot form. The past two days of first class
cricket will have given our selectors a lot to think about.
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