Australia leave out Symonds for Ashes

May 20, 2009 at 11:05 am 3 comments


Australia sprung a surprise in their Ashes team selection by deciding to leave out Andrew Symonds. Symonds is left out of an otherwise full strength Australian Test side that offered few other surprises. The squad has rewarded those who impressed in the test series with South Africa. While stars of the 2006 Ashes whitewash, Stuart Clarke and Brett Lee are recalled after recovering from injury. Hauritz, as expected is named as the sole specialist spinner.

The Australian’s are looking to retain the Ashes and gain revenge for their Ashes defeat in 2005. Arguably, the two teams are weaker now than in 2005 which should make for an interesting contest. The team selection includes some names unfamiliar to the English conditions but the core of the side contains experienced players.

There are twelve names in the squad that haven’t played for Australia in England before. However, of these Hughes has played and impressed playing for Middlesex this year, Marcus North has played for 5 different counties, Michael Hussey has appeared for 3 counties, Stuart Clarke has played for 2 counties, while Shane Watson played under Shane Warne at Hampshire. There can be little comfort taken from the fact that only 4 from the 2005 Ashes series are named. All the players in the team are of high quality, as demonstrated in SA.

Marcus North has earned his call up after scoring a century in his test debut and also bowls off spin to provide another option in this department. Andrew McDonald has had a steady introduction, appearing in the last four test matches. (scoring 107 runs at 21.40 and taking 9 wickets at 33.33). The talented but injury prone Shane Watson is expected to shake off another injury to be fit for the 2020 world cup. The aggressive all-rounder also adds another fast bowling option. The call up of Manou as back up keeper, keeps with the tradition of selecting two keepers, but unusually for an Australian team, he is more a keeper batsman. (Average of 24.51 in first class cricket, 5 100s and 15 50s in 87 matches)

Nathan Hauritz has beaten off weak competition to land the spinner role in Australia’s weakest department. He bowls tidy and accurate off spin. As a defensive spinner, his main role is to bowl accurately and tie up one end to put the batsmen under pressure. However, there is back up for him in the form of Stuart Clarke, Chinaman Simon katich and all rounder Marcus North.

With conditions in most of the matches likely to suit the fast bowlers, the Australians could decide to play the 4 seamers (Lee, S Clarke, Johnson, Watson), with M Clarke, Katich and North supplying the spin option. The first test at Swalec, which is expected to suit the spinners could be the only match that Hauritz appears in, because unlike Warne, he is not a wicket taking spinner as such, so is unlikely to be much of a threat even on the final days.

This isn’t the strongest team that the Australians have ever sent over for an Ashes series. It contains a strong top order but opener Katich doesn’t have the best record in England. (11 innings, 263 runs at 26.30, 2 50s and no hundreds). While Hussey has been going through a patch of bad form Mr Cricket has failed to record a century in his last 21 games. The team has failed to provide a suitable cover for the top order batsmen, which could be exposed if one or more suffer a turn of bad form. The middle order batting is average, Watson averages about 20, North is up in the 40s and Haddin about 37. They are solid batsmen but can be exploited early on in their innings.

Overall, the team selection doesn’t provide any real surprises apart from the omission of Symonds. Both teams have obvious weaknesses in their team which should make for an interesting contest.

Australia Ashes squad: R Ponting (c), M Clarke (vc), S Clark, B Haddin(wkt), N Hauritz, B Hilfenhaus, P Hughes, M Hussey, M Johnson, S Katich, B Lee, G Manou (wkt), A McDonald, M North, P Siddle, S Watson.

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Entry filed under: Cricket.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Morph  |  May 20, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Have to admit that i am delighted by the Aussies decision to leave Symonds out; he is a raw, untamed talent that has the potential to win games with the bat. His style of play has the ability to change games for Australia, as he did in Melbourne for his 150 odd that pretty much sealed the series. Also important to remember his part time spin was a useful asset for Ponting, even more so now that Warne has retired. I can’t help but think the Aussies may just regret this decision…

    Reply
  • 2. Sanath  |  May 24, 2009 at 6:21 am

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    Reply
  • 3. Maria-A Beautiful Female  |  May 30, 2009 at 6:58 am

    It is really surprising as Andrew Symonds showed his hunger for good performance and done so quite effectively in IPL-2009

    Reply

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