A preview of the Australian Cricket Team’s two-Test series against the West Indies.
It’s been far too long since we’ve seen the Australian team don the Baggy Green, but all the waiting will soon come to an end.
The Australians defeated India at home in their most recent Test series, before going on to claim the ICC Cricket World Cup for a fifth time.
The West Indies are coming off a 1-1 result in a three Test series against England.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been left out of the Windies squad, a massive call considering that the 164-Test veteran has scored 1,302 more runs than the rest of the side’s top seven in their previous Test combined. If the Aussie bowlers get a roll on, the home side will struggle without his experience.
I think the hosts will do it tough against the firepower of the touring side. I’ve got Australia winning the series 2-0.
Michael Clarke (c), Steven Smith (vc), Fawad Ahmed, Brad Haddin (wk), Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges, David Warner, Shane Watson
I was forced to re-think my XI for the First Test after opener Chris Rogers was ruled out with concussion. But still, the majority of the XI picks itself. I had Shaun Marsh to bat at five, but with Rogers’ situation, I’ve moved him in to the opening spot and thus will have Adam Voges making his Test debut at Windsor Park.
One position that will depend on the pitch is that of the fourth bowler. Ryan Harris is absent from the West Indies series, so for the third quick option I’ve gone with Mitchell Starc over Peter Siddle. Depending on the conditions, Fawad Ahmed is a chance to earn his first cap in place of a pace bowler.
Shaun Marsh/Chris Rogers
With the incumbent Rogers being ruled out of the First Test, I’ve decided to go with West Australian Shaun Marsh on the back of his 118 against the WICB President’s XI. If he’s fit for the Second Test, Rogers will come back in to open and, form permitting, Marsh will shuffle down the order.
One of the most destructive opening batsmen in the world, Warner’s selection is never in doubt. The leading run-scorer in the IPL this year, Warner will look to continue his hot form that saw him blast three hundreds in the home summer.
Steve Smith (vc)
In career-best form, Smith is a walk-up start. He flourished in last summer’s home series against India, taking home the Man of the Series award. The Windies will have a tough time removing the Aussie vice-captain.
Michael Clarke (c)
Clarke displayed wonderful leadership in an emotional home summer. Riddled with injury, the skipper battled for one of the most remarkable centuries of his career in Adelaide. His bowling might come in handy too, having previously taken a five-for in the Caribbean.
I’ve got Voges in to make his debut in the First Test as a result of pushing Marsh in to the opening spot. Following a spectacular Shield season for WA and a half-century in the tour game, Voges has certainly done enough to warrant selection. The number five spot could be up for grabs in the Second Test if Rogers returns, in which case it will be a battle between Voges and Shaun Marsh.
Watson will be looking for a big series both here and in The Ashes to shore up his position in the side for a little while yet. At the moment, he’s our best option for the all-rounder spot.
Haddin is still the best gloveman in Australia. Now retired from the shorter forms of the game, the former vice-captain is primed for a big few months.
Terrifying when he’s at his best, if Johnson can rediscover the form that earned him Man of the Series honours the last time Australia and England collided, the Windies will do it tough.
Mitchell Starc/Fawad Ahmed
The conditions will determine whether or not Ahmed gets the call-up to don the Baggy Green for the first time. If the selectors opt for three quicks, Starc’s recent form surely edges him ahead of Peter Siddle. Ahmed could partner Lyon, but won’t oust him.
Lyon has come along in leaps and bounds in the past few seasons, and has established himself as the number one spin bowler in Australian cricket. He may find himself bowling in tandem with Ahmed.
Taking a five-for on debut against India, the NSW product went on to take twelve wickets in three Tests. He backed it up with five wickets in the tour match, which was enough to secure a place in my XI.
First Test – June 3-7, Windsor Park (Dominica)
Second Test – June 11-15, Sabina Park (Jamaica)