If he’s one of your three specialist quicks, and he certainly seems to be the first one picked, you’re going to need to cover for him if he breaks down.

Fine, you might think. Harris breaks down, so Watto’s workload increases. End of story.

This, of course, ignores the other elephant in the room. The possibility of Harris breaking down is the first one, but it’s equally obvious that Watto’s no good thing to get through a lot of donkey work without breaking down, which then ramps up the workload for the other to quicks, leaving a very real possibility of further injury issues.

So when you start pencilling in the specialist quicks, if you’ve got Harris and Siddle in the side and you’re looking for the third bloke you’ll possibly be needing a fourth to cover Harris and Watson if both of them break down.

That’s where Faulkner enters the calculations, with the third seamer being a choice between Bird and Starc and Faulkner covering the injury angle. Wind up going with Starc and Faulkner and you’ve then got a batting order that reads: Rogers, Warner, Question Mark, Clarke, Question Mark, Haddin, Faulkner, Starc, Siddle, Harris, Lyon.

One of those question marks is, of course, Watson. We know he’s in there but haven’t figured where to put him. Slot him into Five and you lose Smith, with Khawaja, Hughes and Cowan being the options at Three. You’re assuming, at this point, Smith isn’t a Three.

Figure that Watto has opened the batting and you can bat your alternative opener at Three, and you’re left with a choice of Smith, Hughes or Khawaja at Five.

So Watto goes to Three, Smith gets the guernsey at Five and everything’s done and dusted.

On that basis you’ve got an attack that’s probably going to be able to snare twenty wickets.

You’ve probably got an attack that can take twenty wickets after one of them has broken down. There’s a fair chance it’s an attack that can do that without bowling someone into the zone where they’re at risk of breaking down.

And it’s quite possible they can winkle out twenty wickets after two out of the six of ‘em have broken down. 

Hell, if necessary Clarke, Warner and Smith can all roll their arms over.

The question is, of course, whether this batting line up can score enough runs.

That, one suspects, will depend on the size of the start Rogers and Warner can provide. We could well be 1-150 with Watto joining a well set Rogers or a Warner who’s pummelling the bowling hell, west and crooked. Then again, we could just as easily be 3-20 with Clarke and Smith forced to consolidate and Haddin, Faulkner and the bowlers to come.

Time, of course, will tell...

© Ian L Hughes 2021