Just what do they think they’re doing? There was a sign that the wheels had come off when Ricky Ponting said: “We’ve really got to pick horses for courses with our selections,” when the Australians were in India.
Selection is one of the Aussies’ greatest strengths. Historically, they’ve actually planned their selections. They’ll identify a player who they think will make the grade, they’ll ease them in and they’ll stick with them.
They don’t identify eight players – like England do – and chop and change them until there’s a new plan. They identify one player. They look at their side, they work out when they’ll need certain players and they try and work out who’ll best fit the role in advance. They don’t wait for a vacancy to arise. They plan ahead.
At least they did do. Earlier this year, they were still trying to do this. They were going to get two years out of Bryce McGain and then Beau Casson was hopefully going to be ready. Bryce McGain got injured and at this point they moved to Plan B: They tore up the team sheet and TOTALLY FREAKED OUT.
In and out like a…
Casson was out, Jason Krejza was in. But then they had second thoughts about Krejza, so Cameron White was in. Then White was out and Krejza was in. Then Krejza was injured and White and Casson were both still out and Nathan Hauritz was in. Then when Krejza was back, Hauritz went back to being 12th man for New South Wales.
Now Krejza’s out and Hauritz is back in. You still with us?
Parallel to this, Stuart Clark and Peter Siddle have been swapping places on virtually a match-by-match basis, on the basis of conditions and fitness and Shane Watson’s been in and out depending on the make-up of the side and whether Andrew Symonds was a villain or a saviour at the time.
Do these players know what they’re doing wrong when they’re dropped? Do they believe that they’re doing anything right when they get picked again or do they just think that the other guy’s even worse than they are?
We were English for the entire duration of the Nineties. We know what we’re talking about in this regard. Australia’s reactionary selection policy smacks of panic, short-termism and lack of planning.