The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Bulls bats on track to line up

- ROBERT CRAD­DOCK BEN DOR­RIES

QUEENS­LAND have never been renowned for pro­duc­ing Test bats­men, never mind three at the one time.

Yet Joe Burns, Us­man Khawaja and Chris Lynn all have un­de­ni­able claims to be­ing cho­sen in the first Test of the home sum­mer against New Zealand at the Gabba, start­ing on Novem­ber 5.

Only two bats­men, Steve Smith and David Warner, seem cer­tain­ties at the minute, although the land­scape could change again af­ter the two-Test tour of Bangladesh in Oc­to­ber.

For­mer Aus­tralian coach Bob Simp­son once said that any dis­trict bats­man was six cen­turies away from play­ing for Aus­tralia – three for his club, then three more for his state.

This is the sum­mer when it might just come true.

An in­trigu­ing el­e­ment of the lead-up to the home Test sum­mer will be ex­actly how many Aus­tralian bat­ting spots are up for grabs.

There is a the­ory that Aus­tralia will hang on to Adam Vo­ges, de­spite his or­di­nary Ashes se­ries, be­cause they will not want to blood too many rook­ies at the same time.

Yet there is another no­tion that Smith and Warner will be the only top-or­der bats­men left stand­ing, be­cause Aus­tralia will want to wipe the slate clean and start again.

As of now, it ap­pears likely the Aussies will give young all­rounder Mitchell Marsh a crack at a home sum­mer.

One of the few cer­tain­ties is that surely the book has closed on his older brother Shaun.

Shaun av­er­ages 33 from 15 Tests.

Shaun made his first-class de­but in 2000-01 and has mus­tered 16 cen­turies – roughly about one a sea­son – in that time.

That is not even close to be­ing good enough and he should have been given his baggy green march­ing or­ders well be­fore now.

De­spite the Ashes flop, Aussie fast-bowl­ing stocks pro­vide a rea­son for hope.

Aussie quicks hardly set the world on fire in the Ashes, but the likes of Pat Cum­mins, James Pat­tin­son and even Nathan Coul­ter-Nile are wait­ing in the wings.

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