Thursday, 12 November 2009

What's on first?

This kind of storing has been popping up a fair bit recently. I don't really see how it's news.

Watson made the Test team because he was in the squad for his versatility - as a player who could fill any position that needed filling. It just happened that he was chosen to replace an opener. I will admit that his batting performance since then was better than I expected. I am still not convinced he should be called an "all-rounder", but leaving that aside, he has easily confirmed his ability as a fill-in Test batsman, and earned consideration for an ongoing place in the lineup.

However, the idea that he is one of the two best choices for opener is a bit weird. Apart from all the hoopla about Hughes, there are at least two other openers who should be consdered at number 1 before Watson, and that's only considering those with Test experience. The most obvious response to Watson's recent performance is to compare him with other middle-order contenders.


nestaquin said...

Border reckons that Hussey will get the chop if Clarke is fit with Watson batting in the middle order after Hughes is reinstated as opener.

I'm not convinced as there are signs that Huss is over his slump.

Even though they failed in England once too often I like a middle order of Ponting, Hussey, Clarke and North.

As for the openers I reckon that considering Watson did fairly well in England he deserves to keep his spot for now. However, I'd put him on notice stating that he must turn at least one of his starts against the Windies into three figures. Too often he gets out, usually lbw, in the fifties.

I'd like to see Phil Jaques get a chance after scoring a century in his last Test before injury.

I wonder who NSW would select to open if they were forced to choose between Hughes and Jaques?

Jonathan said...

Nesta, I'm not going to try to guess whether the Hilditch is done with Hussey or are worried about Clarke's back. Apart from Hussey's slump, it doesn't seem the selectors are keen on players of that age any more.

As for Watson, I'm not convinced that someone who has performed the versatile fill-in role well deserves to keep his spot. Is he likely to do better than the alternative openers or batsmen in general? I think there is a better case for him in the middle order than ahead of Jaques, Rogers and Hughes.

That doesn't mean I think he should be in the team, however. At the moment it really looks like they're trying to find a batsman to make way for him for the sake of his bowling, which I think is completely unjustified.

The question about NSW is a good one. I would lean towards Jaques at the moment.

Vim said...

I can't see Watson's bowling being much use in test cricket, but you never know. I nearly wept when they decided to have him as a testi opener and he worked out to be just about ok, so what do I know?

I shall weep if Marcus North is kept out of the team and Watson is in however. That will piss me off no end.

Jonathan said...

Vim, as far as I'm concerned, Watson's been given plenty of chances to show the use of his bowling in Test matches. His opening batting was much better, but does that earn a spot, or are we looking to pick the best team.

I can understand the difficulty in choosing between the established players in a current team and the alternatives, but when one was there as a fill in to start with (and at least one of the alternatives is simply returning well from injury), I wonder what is going on. But I think I am barking up the wrong tree - apparently it is his bowling, adding "balance"!?