31 December 2012

Australia look shakey for 2013 and massively reliant on Michael Clarke

It sounds strange to say Australia are looking shakey for next year when they've just thrashed Sri Lanka inside two and a half days and when they're captain has scored more runs than any other Australian in one calendar year in 2012.   Particularly as they were very unlucky to lose their three match series against the number 1 Test team South Africa too.

But it's difficult to see how a side stripped of Ponting, Hussey and Haddin is going to go into the Ashes next year as favourites, despite the advances being made by in the seam bowling department.   Jackson Bird looks a great find and I think he'll be very dangerous on English wickets in swinging conditions, along with any of Siddle, Starc, Johnson and Pattinson.

But imagine if Michael Clarke was to go down injured...there's literally no-one that it's possible to pick out as a natural leader at this stage.   Clarke seems to get through without missing many games but the Aussies still have to consider what they would do in that circumstance - there's no other Test team so reliant on one player as Australia in 2013.   It's getting bad when you see that people like Warner and Cowan are being suggested as leaders - both are inexperienced at Test level and Warner's shot selection issues will make it hard for him to guide others, while Cowan averages less than 35 at the stage.

I can't believe that Australia would have wanted it this way.   If they'd known that Hussey was going to retire, I wonder whether Ponting might have continued, or whether Haddin might have been the better choice over Wade (who is now being touted as a number 6 despite averaging 36 to date)....Wade's certainly not set the world alight and Haddin's been in superb form in Australian domestic cricket.   Perhaps Wade was selected for his bowling - Haddin certainly doesn't proclaim to be able to bowl!

It'll be interesting to see how Australia shape up over the next 12 months and whether Michael Clarke can stay fit.   Without him they'll really be struggling....

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