Will we set­tle on a pace over spin op­tion ... or just go for great hair?

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE & INTERNATIONAL CRICKET - from Adam Collins and Ge­off Le­mon of ABC News Down Un­der

The sched­ule is un­re­lent­ing as our ir­rev­er­ent pair an­a­lyse the al­ter­na­tives for Aus­tralia on their up­com­ing In­dia tour Adam Collins: Cricket, cricket ev­ery­where. White ball, red ball. Men, women. Fifty overs, twenty overs. Six Tests, all over. But four more in In­dia around the cor­ner. A New Zealand trip be­tween times. I’m spent just say­ing it all at once. Ge­off Le­mon: It’s hard to keep your head and keep a sense of con­text in the mid­dle of the sum­mer, where there are games on TV and on the live streams and at grounds down the road in ev­ery ma­jor city. But the ma­jor thing is the end of that Test sea­son, and the hugely vari­able na­ture of it from Ho­bart to here. AC: Yeah, that in­evitabil­ity about the last day was very Old Aus­tralia; when Ricky and Steve and Warne and McGrath would fin­ish any­one on a fifth day. If they were lucky enough to get that far. A cou­ple of months ago, it was cause for na­tional cel­e­bra­tion if Aus­tralia’s bat­ting was ro­bust enough to think about reach­ing the fi­nal hours of a Test. Beat­ing Pak­istan at home is hardly cause for tick­er­tape, mind. They fare about as well in this big, brown land as the early set­tlers did. But still, con­fi­dence into a Sub-con­ti­nen­tal tour is not for noth­ing. GL: Well, con­fi­dence is one thing. How quickly that can evap­o­rate once things get dif­fi­cult is another. I think we’ve all been burned by In­dia tours past – you get past a cer­tain num­ber of years watch­ing cricket, and you re­alise how re­mark­able those achieve­ments of the early Noughties were, in that Aus­tralian teams man­aged to com­pete over there at all. It’s still amaz­ing that a change of lo­ca­tion can bring about such a huge change in ex­pec­ta­tions and re­sults. AC: So all roads lead back to selec­tion for that squad. Can I float an idea? I re­ally quite like what Eng­land did with the Broad/An­der­son ro­ta­tion over there. And far too of­ten in the Sub-con­ti­nent the se­cond seamer is un­der­utilised if the

track is rag­ging. So how about this: we ro­tate Starc and Ha­zle­wood, leav­ing Mitch Marsh to play se­cond fid­dle? Quick enough. Ex­pe­ri­enced in that general part of the planet. Makes the bat­ting deeper. He wasn’t a disas­ter with the wil­low in Sri Lanka, ei­ther. And lessens the chance that Starc breaks in two, Bruce Reid-style. GL: All right. I re­ally like that idea but only if a team goes that route, and re­lies on spin with seam-bowl­ing pe­riph­eral. We saw it at times in the Emi­rates in 2014, Imran Khan would be bowl­ing four overs an in­nings, while Zul­fiqar and Yasir would do the rest and were tak­ing the Aus­tralians apart piece by piece. That’s great if you’ve got the spin­ners. Do we? AC: Well, like ev­ery good re­la­tion­ship, it’s com­pli­cated. Nathan Lyon has un­der­per­formed in con­di­tions where he shouldn’t. But he also steps up when given the full sup­port of the board, so to speak. And Steve O’Keefe is a plucky lit­tle bug­ger isn’t he? I can’t see him be­ing afraid of Kohli and Co. At least he doesn’t carry scars. I saw KP in the pa­per this morn­ing say­ing Adam Zampa should go as well. I like this for two rea­sons. The first, he’s another hard com­peti­tor, rip­ping the hell out of ev­ery de­liv­ery. Also, he’s got great hair. GL: The hair ar­gu­ment. Got Brett Lee into the side. Prob­a­bly got Shane Lee in there as well. Bowl­ing 150 clicks helped, though. The one of them, not the other, bless him. At least Colin Miller let his cricket do the talk­ing and then let the hair go. Once he was reign­ing Test Player of the Year, all bets were off. I think Lyon’s a top bowler, and I like the way O’Keefe talks to him­self when he bats in the nets. Com­bat­ive would be the word. But will they be good enough to take In­dia down at home, or should Aus­tralia rely on its com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage? Which is fast bowl­ing, re­verse swing, the kind of stuff Starc was do­ing ev­ery day in Sri Lanka. It al­most worked for Steve Waugh in 2001. AC: Per­sua­sive. I just fear for these blokes go­ing to In­dia and com­ing back man­gled wrecks, af­ter just get­ting through a sum­mer with­out in­jury is­sues. It’s likely they will get a bit of a breather in the white-ball stuff against Pak­istan start­ing this week­end. I’m all for 50-over cricket but I can’t feel any­thing for this se­ries, and I think it is be­cause I’ve con­vinced my­self Pak­istan can­not win a game on this tour. I’m an­gry with how they gave it up in Mel­bourne and Sydney. They’re meant to be bet­ter than that nowa­days. But it does have rel­e­vance in the con­text of the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy in Eng­land. Sure, not the most pres­ti­gious sil­ver­ware go­ing around. But it’s still a com­pet­i­tive process to get on that plane. GL: And it speaks of the com­par­a­tive lux­ury of Aus­tralian cricket that we can deem the Champs Tro­phy not very im­por­tant. Yeah, this ODI se­ries is a bit flat, given there’s so much in­ter­est around the Big Bash at this time of year. Lynn and McCul­lum as the Bash Broth­ers were the dar­lings of na­tional me­dia for a cou­ple of days, now Lynn’s out play­ing against Pak­istan. Is it more mean­ing­ful? That’s a far big­ger sched­ul­ing chat than we have time for now. AC: Maybe so, but the broader point is that the BBL has reached a stage where it de­serves to stand alone. Put it this way: you wouldn’t want to see Lynn sit­ting on the bench watch­ing on in one of those de­grad­ing or­ange sin­glets in any of these ODIs or they may riot in Bris­bane Heat land. It’s what Usman will be do­ing to­mor­row when Travis Head opens the bat­ting, open­ing the way to Glenn Maxwell for the first time this sum­mer for Aus­tralia. It may have taken a few months, but as far as I am con­cerned this is or­der: re­stored at last.

Lynn and McCul­lum as the Bash Broth­ers were the me­dia’s dar­lings. Now Lynn is play­ing against Pak­istan. Is it more mean­ing­ful?

Great hair: But should Adam Zampa be in­cluded in Aus­tralia’s team?

PIC­TURES: Getty Images

League of its own: Chris Lynn’s Big Bash form has earned him a place in Aus­tralia’s squad, while Josh Ha­zle­wood and Mitchell Starc may be ro­tated in In­dia, right

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