A visit from The Actor yesterday morning gave a welcome opportunity to clarify the thoughts three days out from the resumption of Ashes hostilities. Grigor, being a regular correspondent to the op-ed pages of the local paper but doesn’t have access to a computer or email, needs someone to type up the correspondence, which I’m happy to do since the secretarial chore is invariably followed by an interesting conversation.
Recent interesting conversations had, however, skirted around the cricket, so once I’d finished the typing I directed our attention straight to The Gabba with a question about the final composition of the Australian eleven.
Everything seems cut and dried, except for the inevitable Faulkner or Lyon question, and that, I suspect, is largely going to depend on the state of the track. I like Lyon and reckon he’s coming on nicely, but if there’s a hint of soup in the wicket I think I’d be inclined to go with Faulkner.
If he’s included he’d have to bat Eighty, with Johnson at Nine with a Test ton under his belt and Harris and Siddle, neither of whom are mugs with the bat, at Ten and Eleven.
When you look at it in those terms, that’s a rather impressive batting line up.
Rogers and Warner to open, the accumulator and the aggressor making a rather interesting pair of counterfoils. Watson has to bat somewhere, probably harbours some lingering thoughts about opening, but Three might be an acceptable compromise for a man who seems to be used to getting what he wants.
Clarke at Four, Smith at Five and Bailey at Six is probably the best middle order we can assemble at the moment. Add Haddin at Seven and the bowlers as indicated and you’d have to be optimistic about the chances.
The notion of Faulkner at Eight also gave me the opportunity to revisit some thoughts on developing all-rounders, specifically as far as the emerging quicks are concerned. If they’re going to have their fast bowling workload strictly limited, they may as well work on the batting.
You never know. One of them might turn into the sort of genuine all-rounder who can bat in the first seven and contribute a full workload with the ball.
On the other hand, with a bit of work on the batting you might have a useful contender to contribute handy runs at Eight or Nine rather than a bunny to come in at Ten or Eleven.
Every little bit helps.