Australia’s middle-order batsmen for the 2013 Ashes

Phil Hughes thriving against some innocuous fast-medium

We’d say that Australia were one crankshaft short of an engine room if we knew what constituted ‘the engine room’ or what an engine room contained or what a crankshaft was. Also, they appear to be missing more than that.

Flicking through our Big Book of Cricket Clichés, we find that Michael Clarke would find a place in any Test team, provided he hasn’t been struck down by back-knack. Beyond that, things get interesting.

Phil Hughes is perhaps most fascinating of all. Weak against fast bowling and weak away from his body, it was instructive to watch him go about his business in India recently, where he revealed himself to be horrifically, unimaginably weak against spin. What is this? There’s a nagging feeling that Hughes will somehow haunt us one day, but that’s not a logical conclusion and therefore has no merit.

David Warner is somewhat tarred with the Twenty20 brush, which is perhaps unfair because his record in the shortest format isn’t actually all that good. He averages almost 50 in Tests in Australia but 20-odd away from home. Could he make it as a middle-order batsman? We wouldn’t be enormously happy to see him emerging at number six, we have to say. Against tiring bowlers when there’s little swing, he could conceivably do damage.

Steven Smith is another oddity. Whenever we’ve seen him bat in England, he’s looked like a proper tail-ender, but he showed a bit of talent in India. We have since revised our view that he is the worst batsman in the history of cricket. We’re giving him a second chance and we’re actually quite interested to see how he fares.

Usman Khawaja is a qualified pilot, but doesn’t seem likely to hit the heights. Nor does he seem likely to let Australia down particularly. Of all the misshapes in this section, Khawaja is perhaps the one who best illustrates the current paucity of Australian batting talent. While most of the others are: ‘Maybe, just maybe…’ Khawaja promises little beyond steadiness.

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21 Appeals

  1. Phill Hughes is the Johnson Charles of Australian batting. I have no idea how either of them manage to make any runs. But apparently they do. Mostly when I am not looking.

  2. I thought it was widely acknowledged that Chris Martin is “the worst batsman in the history of cricket™”

  3. There’s a choice between Ed Cowan and Dave Warner. England would choose Ed, Oz will choose Dave.

  4. Hughes is a genuine enigma. He presented the selectors with what is usually a good enough reason to be dropped from any test team, and when that didn’t work he gave them two more. What is it that they see in him? My view is that he is either rubbish at cards, thus an easy source of money on tour, or he is able to excrete vegemite on demand (*).

    (*) Frankly, who isn’t?

  5. I see you have chosen not to include a picture this time.

    Very wise.

    Just out of interest, KC, which one of the above-listed players would you have used by way of illustration? And which well-known top trump would have been wandering around the background in disguise?

    • King Cricket

      July 6, 2013 at 9:06 am

      This post should have a picture. Looks like there’s just a bin in the background.

    • Rob Key even deeper under cover than he was in the previous picture.

      Brilliant and fiendish in equal measure, KC. Well done.

  6. One crankshaft short of an engine room. That’s liquid writing.

  7. hughes will play a hundred tests

    • He might, but considering how often he looks like a walking wicket, the kind of faith reposited in him suggests that there are no real alternatives. That is worrisome – a bare Australian batting cupboard is not good for cricket. Maybe I’m just missing something completely about Hughes though.

    • A hundred tests? That’s nearly 500 runs!

  8. apparently swanny is targetting michael clarke. wow, big revelation there, worthy of headlines for sure… it seems that in a big series, you have to try and keep the opposition’s best players quiet. who would have guessed?

    also: “Darren Lehmann was a magnificent player, second to none, only Brian Lara has been a better player” – gordon bennett, sportsmen and their magnificent command of language eh

    (though if the truth be known, professonal journos are scarcely any better these days… sigh)

  9. [incidentally KC, that wasn’t a dig at you. just a whinge about the state of written language these days in general… most articles on cricinfo contain a smattering of (what would once have been recognised as) blatant grammatical errors – even those penned by journos whose first language is english. gripe, moan etc]

    • King Cricket

      July 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      Oh, don’t worry about it. We wouldn’t for one minute consider ourself a journalist.

    • I consider myself a journalist. Was it a dig at me? If so, it’s fine.

    • it wasn’t a dig at anyone in particular (though i have noticed that i can’t get through a single paragraph by firdose moonda without wincing). i’m just bemoaning a general decline in grammatical standards… in the grand scheme of things it really isn’t important, but… even pfoessional writers these days almost invariably say “may” when they mean “might”, etc etc

      … i only turned 40 a few years ago and i already sound like victor meldrew 🙁

    • it wasn’t a dig at anyone in particular (though i have noticed that i can’t get through a single paragraph by firdose moonda without wincing). i’m just bemoaning a general decline in grammatical standards… in the grand scheme of things it really isn’t important, but… even professional writers these days almost invariably say “may” when they mean “might”, etc etc

      … i only turned 40 a few years ago and i already sound like victor meldrew 🙁

    • “pfoessional writers”

      – and the professional ones are even worse 😉

  10. nothing for chris martin?

    • King Cricket

      July 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      As a rule, anything we feel like we should write about, we don’t.

    • I agree with you entirely, nnn.

      Quality batsman by Aussie standards – Chris Martin should certainly be in the mix for the Aussie middle order.

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