Australia’s perennial twelfth man is no longer just that. South Australia’s Chadd Sayers is now a Test cricketer, number 452 at that.
For the record, England’s latest Test debutant, Somerset spinner Jack Leach, is cap number 684!
You can keep tabs on how both Sayers and The Bloodsucker, two men who have never played an official T20 match, get on by clicking on the following links…
Whilst Cameron Bancroft does okay opening the batting for Australia’s Test outfit, his predecessor Matt Renshaw is sniffing for a recall at the earliest opportunity. Since the turn of the year the nearly twentytwo-year-old has reeled off First Class scores of 56, 32, 170, 0, 112, 12, 3, 143* & 8. If the opposition get him early then fair enough but if they don’t then the Middlesbrough lad cashes in. Remember that he’s got a Test high of 184 and averages just shy of 37.
Back to Bancroft. He produced one good knock during the 2017-18 Ashes and under huge pressure for his place, has made starts and got one fifty in South Africa. It’s a good little battle for the Australian selectors to have being played out. Western Australia’s Bancroft has three or four years on Renshaw and experience of opening at county level in England for Gloucestershire that will serve him well. Queensland’s Renshaw is clearly made of tough stuff though, even if he recently rather naively conceded five penalty runs!
Don’t forget Renshaw’s domestic partner Joe Burns either. He had a bit of a stinker in his last Test but he’s still only 28 and has three Test tons to his name. South Australia’s Jake Weatherald is another one to keep an eye on, though he’s failed to convert starts this term. Travis Dean is another who despite not backing up the absurdly good start to his First Class career, has recently notched up a couple of hundreds. His average is a disappointing 34 exactly but six tons seven fifties is a good conversion rate. Remember that opening the batting isn’t easy. I should know because I’ve done it in Division Seven of the Nidderdale League and Division Five of the Harrogate and District Evening League!!!
Like Renshaw, another player from the north of England worth keeping tabs on is Charlie Hemphrey. Despite a duck on First Class debut, the Doncaster native registered a century early in his Australian domestic career and following a difficult time thereafter, has made hundreds in each of his last two outings. Twentyeight-year-old Hemphrey has produced these performances batting at four for Queensland. Burns, Renshaw and Hemphrey helping contribute to a strong batting order.
Current Test incumbent David Warner is only thirty-one so there’s life in the old dog yet and unlike some, he seems committed to the Test cause and not yet seeking a purely T20 franchise existence.
Competition for the opening slots for Australia’s Test side is scorching hot and the selectors will be chuffed at the tough decisions to be made.
Hampshire spinner Mason Crane is currently making his Sheffield Shield debut for New South Wales at the SCG. The leg-spin bowler, just turned twenty, has been tipped by many in the game to be England’s spin saviour. A First Class average of 40.75 suggests that there’s still work to be done but regardless of the results, Crane will surely be a better bowler for his southern hemisphere experiences this winter.
In NSW’s match against South Australia, Crane has already snapped up the wicket of the useful Tom Cooper. The opportunity to see Australia’s limited overs specialist Adam Zampa twirling tirelessly for the opposition will be an education for Crane. There was outcry by some when Zampa was omitted from Australia’s squad for his country’s Test tour of India but it’s worth noting that for all Zampa’s ODI and T20I success that his First Class bowling average currently sits above Crane at 44.07 and at a less than desirable 4.05 per over.
To keep up to date with Crane’s travails then please click on the link below…
Less than two weeks ago Silly Point announced that the forgotten man of Australian cricket, South Australia’s Callum Ferguson had been drafted into Australia’s Test squad. (See previous post: Ferguson Not Forgotten!)
Unfortunately CJ Ferg’s induction into Test cricket couldn’t have gone much worse. Run out for three in Australia’s abysmal first innings 85 all out against South Africa, he managed to add only a single in the second innings. Since then heads have rolled on Australia’s selection panel and Ferguson’s chances of doubling his number of Test caps in the third and final Test in hometown Adelaide next week are hanging by a particularly fine thread. There might not even have been a thread but Adam Voges’ concussion injury during the current round of Australian domestic matches mean that maybe, just maybe, if the selectors don’t want to make wholesale changes, though the suggestion is that they do, Ferguson might be saved. As for Voges, his Test career is almost certainly over, at least temporarily and at the age of 37 and despite a surreal Test match batting average of 61.87 possibly eternally.
Runs for the likes of Travis Dean, Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw amongst others in the current round of Sheffield Shield matches mean that Australia should be handing out some brand new baggy greens in Adelaide.
Ignore any silly blogs calling for a recall for Ashton Agar!
Following defeat against South Africa in the first Test of a three-match series in Perth, Australia have recalled Joe Burns for the injured Shaun Marsh and have also granted a long awaited Test call-up for the extremely unfortunate Callum Ferguson for the second Test in Hobart. South Australia captain Ferguson will be 32 on November 21st and would surely have earned more than thirty ODI caps and three T20I appearances for his country if it wasn’t for a series of knee injuries. If CJ Ferg (That’s probably what his mates call him!) does debut, at 31 he’ll have a head start on some that have made their Test bows in recent times. Look no further than Australia teammate Adam Voges, 35 when he first wore the baggy green. In the last month Ferguson has made scores of 154 in a List A match and 101 in a First Class appearance. The possibility of a five year plus, few thousand runs international career could still be a possibility for the North Adelaide born right-hander.