On our part we’re looking for a long term replacement for Rogers as The Steady Opener, cover for Watson as The All Rounder (or, if you prefer, The Batsman Who Bowls), Haddin behind the stumps and depth and variation in the spin bowling department (Backup Offie, as well as a leffie and a left arm orthodox). Throw in another top order bat and someone who can bat in the middle and you’d have the makings of a decent medium to long term prospect.
Those players need to be identified and brought on, with a degree of rotation involved when we play the likes of Zimbabwe, Bangla Desh, the West Indies and New Zealand.
The fast bowling department looks reasonably good, with plenty of depth coming through but there are two questions over that way. The first, of course, is getting them on to the park, something that we haven’t quite managed to do consistently. If you’re not convinced of that, take a squiz at the injury list.
Then, assuming you’ve got the resources fit and ready to fire, it’s a question of getting the right mix. In many ways this current attack reminds me of the bowling group that got us home against the West Indies back in 1995. That attack went into a Test series having just lost McDermott to injury, and while it included Warne and an emerging McGrath the other two quicks (Reiffel and Julian) aren’t going to end up being ranked along Australia’s all-time greats.
That lineup, however, offered a blend of talents that gave options to set up plans to attack the West Indies batting order, and, just as importantly, weren’t afraid to ruffle the West Indian tail enders who were used to monitoring the opposition without getting a great deal of retaliation when they batted.
One notes some of the same thing happening here where Messrs Anderson and Broad are concerned.
So when it comes to replacing Johnson, Harris and Siddle it might not be a case of a straight like for like swap. Johnson may be The Leftie With the Terror Factor, but that doesn’t mean he can be replaced by, say, Starc, who may be The Leftie, but mightn’t fit into the Terrifying Pace side of things.
No, it’s a matter of getting the right combination, and that’s not necessarily going to be a matter of selecting the three most obvious choices.
The other matter that needs to be commented on is, of course, the rapid depletion of English resources in this series, and I’d direct The Argumentative Reader’s attention in that direction if he or she thinks I’m getting a little over the top in the comments above.