Coming off what can only be described as an indifferent series against Sri Lanka, the Aussies take on the West Indies in another five-game series where they will no doubt come under further examination.
With Australia’s rotation policy in full swing, David Hussey has made way for Victorian teammate Aaron Finch. Despite failures in both appearances for Australia, Finch has been shown the confidence of the selectors as they look for an opening combination at the top of the order. This is unlikely to be the last of Hussey however, as he and Steve Smith wait in the periphery for spots in the middle order as Phillip Hughes departs for India mid-series.
Rot from the top
The issue of a failing top order has crept into the limited overs format. Hughes has easily been the most steady, but no other batsman put their hand up on a consistent basis. Four half centuries shared amongst the top seven batsmen in five games, and one from Mitchell Starc.
Kemar Roach – the Windies firebrand recently claimed he started Ricky Ponting’s infamous form slide whilst he was at the helm. If he has still retained his youthful exuberance and pace, he will definitely trouble the hosts on Australia’s typically bouncy wickets.
Dwayne Bravo – A welcome return for the well-loved West Indian who has spent much time in Australia playing the T20 format. The wily Trinidadian always provides great entertainment in all facets of the game and should be one to watch.
Eye on 2015?
Without Hussey or Ponting, the selectors have taken the opportunity to build a squad for the 2015 World Cup. The selections of Aaron Finch, Moises Henriques, Ben Cutting and Ben Laughlin may have raised eyebrows around the nation (especially after Laughlin’s dismal last over in the T20 international), but domestic form would show that the aforementioned have a place in the national squad.
The top order really does need to step up this series after their dismal showing in the last series. Without Ponting and the Hussey brothers to save their bacon this time around, much will lie on the shoulders of George Bailey and Michael Clarke if the top order crumbles again. Cue mutiny if they Bailey and Clarke fail too.
Having received scrutiny for all sorts of reasons, the Australians would love a dominant series against the world’s seventh placed side in what has been a topsy-turvy summer for the squad — even if it simply meant a brief reprieve from the media’s criticism.