I was always amazed by Indian selectors when they selected 15 or more players for a cricket series or tournament, even when other teams selected lot less than that. I used to believe that Indian board is so rich that they can afford one or two more men on foreign tours, and then I came to know that it's the responsibility to the host nation to afford the players, not BCCI.
And now we have Australia who have gone two or three steps ahead and selected a squad of 18 member for the Malaysia Tri series which starts from 12th of September. Why exactly is that?? Purely because they need practice games before the ICC Champions trophy and thus, for the Ashes series which is the most important for them in the whole world.
This is an article where we'll be having a closer look on some Australian players who are selected into the team for Malaysia Tri series, so that they don't surprise us later on..
Players you know -
01. Ricky Ponting (captain).
02. Michael Hussey (vice captain) - If you don't know, this 31 year old man is having a test average of 77.93 and an ODI average of 77.06 from 40 one day internationals.... isn't this amazing that Australia keep on finding players like Micheal Beven time and again. If you still don't believe me, believe now when I tell you that Michael Hussey is so obssessed with cricket, that he not only dreams, eats and lives cricket, he is nick named - Mr. Cricket as well..!!
03. Simon Katich.
04. Andrew Symonds.
05. Mathew Hayden.
06. Glenn McGrath.
07. Damien Martyn.
08. Michael Clarke.
09. Brett Lee.
Players you may know -
10. Stuart Clarke - If you don't know, let me tell you that this lanky right arm fast bowler is fast making a name in International cricket and has already gained the mark of third best fast bowler for Australia.
11. Brad Hogg - The only, and a very good left arm Chinaman bowler (left arm leg spinner as you may call). I have rarely have seen him going for too many runs and can bat a bit as well..!!
12. Nathan Bracken - A left arm fast bowler. Not much of speed (round about 130-135 km/hr) but because of his good height of nearly 6 feets and immaculate accuracy, Nathan Bracken is quite a handy bowler. Specially at the end of an innings when he comes back to bowl yorkers.
Players you may not know -
13. Mark Cosgrove - Before I tell you about Mark Cosgrove, I want you to remember Darren Lehmann. Both these man have more than one similarities and are considered one of the best stroke makers in Australia's domestic cricket. Mark Cosgrove (a left handed batsman) has played just one ODI for Australia till date, and made his mark with 69 ball 74 including 7 fours and 2 sixes.
The best part with this rising Australian opener is his ability to play on the off side, both on the back foot and front foot and also his strong cover driving. Something very similar to what Darren Lahmann had. And the worst part with Cosgrove is he weight, very similar to Lehmann again. Cosgrove is a bulk young man (22 years old as I write this), and has been thrown out of his domestic team not because of his lack of form but his weight. Having said that, Mark Cosgrove's talent was spotted very early and at just an age of 21, he made his International debut against Bangladesh and proved he is a man for the future.
14. Phil Jaques - Sometimes young player don't even play too many International games and they become a name for Future. Such a name is Phil Jaques - The Australian left handed opener who has played just 2 test matches and 2 ODI's for Australia. 27 years old Jaques also happens to be a passport holder of England but as he says - "My heart said Australia and that is why I will play international cricket for them". With a height of 1.85 m (6 feets and 3 inches), Phil Jaques is yet another attacking opener who has been in thrilling form for last three consecutive years.
As Steve Waugh puts it - "Australia is lucky to have a player like him coming through all those years, and Phil Jaques is yet another blazing opener in Adam Gilchrist mould".
15. Shane Watson - Now this is a cricketer that Australia really needs to come of age and become a regular into their national team, as he is as good a bowler as he is a hard hitting batsman. The fact remains that Australia may have very good batsmen - both old and young, but they don't really have all rounders. Quality all rounders that I mean. And they see 25 year old Shane Watson as their best choice.
Australia has been giving chances to this tall all rounder for 4 years now (he was almost a certainty for 2003 World Cup), but injuries and his lack of performance meant he has to sit out or left out. With a best score of 31 in Test Matches (3 in all) and 31.68 in ODIs (from 43 matches), Shane Watson has rarely shown what he is capable of, but Australia has great expectations from him. Or I should say - they need him to come good.
16. Brad Haddin - Australia is a team who will make a real performing player sit out in a match, and will name it as "Rotation Policy". They do it because they know any player can be injured anytime and that is when the replacement will be forced on them. And thus, they try to give opportunities to young talents whenever they can, to prepare a strong bench strength. And Brad Haddin is a prime example of that. Wicket keeper by profession, Haddin had very little chance to make it to Australia's national team as long as World's best Wicket keeper batsman - Adam Gilchrist was not retiring, but because of Australia's rotation policy, Brad Haddin has already played 13 ODI's and a twenty20 match and although he failed in making a mark with his bat (has a batting average of 18.18 so far), Australian team is persisting with him as they see some real potential in him.
This right handed batsman is clean and sharp when it comes to gathering the ball behind the wickets and is also capable in making some good runs at top of the order.
17. Daniel Cullen - As a Ten year old, Daniel Cullen (Dan Cullen as he is also called), used to run behind Shane Warne to get his autograph, and now, after 12 years hence, he himself is considered as future no. 1 spinner in Australian ranks..
Daniel Cullen is an off spinner, who has the ability to flight, dip, turn a cricket ball and has another ability which I'll tell you at last. Dan Cullen was named Bradman young cricketer of the year in 2005 and made his International debut against Bangladesh both in Test matches and ODI's. The most important factor with spinner from Australian origin is that they are big turners of cricket balls. Take example of Shane Warne, Stuart McGill or anyone else..... this is because they grow up on pitches which don't offer them much help, and consecutively teaches them how to turn the ball even on hard pitches... and that's when they land on helpful wickets, they become huge turners..
Now the special ability - Daniel Cullen has the ability to bowl "Doosra". Now it will be interesting to see whether ICC and umpires like Darrell Hair and referee's like Chris Broad see something wrong in his bowling action as well. The reason I say this is because there is absolutely no off spinner in International cricket who can bowl "Doosra" without violating the rule of maximum 15 degree bending of wrist..... whatever it means..!!
I remember three offspinner right now as Harbhajan Singh, Muthiah Muralitharan and Johan Botha, all of whom could bowl Doosra's and were tested again and again by ICC for suspected bowling action. Now will Daniel Cullen be seen from the same eyes or will he be spared as he is an Australian....??
Only the time will tell.
18. Mitchell Johnson - How many fast bowlers from India lately have been a product of MRF pace academy - Probably all of them. And the biggest man behind that pace academy is Australian Dannis Lillee. And when the same man says something like "a once in a generation bowler" about Mitchell Johnson, you have to believe him. Mitchell Johnson has a height of 1.89 m and a speed of over 140 km/hr which makes him lethal at times. Another good thing about this young fast bowler of 25 years is that he is a left arm fast bowler - a rare bread in itself.
The biggest problem with Mitchell Johnson is his bowling action which keeps on giving him back problems and injuries has been the biggest setback in his short career so far. Now when Australia is looking at new generation of cricketers to keep up to the level of cricket they have achieved in last 5 years or so, Mitchell Johnson is bound to get his changes... provided that he stays fit and grabs them.
After selecting this big list of 18 players for Malaysia Triseries, Australian selectors confirmed that they intended to give at least one game to each and every player in that tri series, either against India or West Indies... so you can be sure of watching these fresh talents from Australia yourself and judge how good they are... or I should say - how dangerous for our TEAM INDIA.