Trevor Hohns, Australia’s selection chairman, explains the rationale behind the squad selected for the start of the Ashes.
Why Tim Paine?
“It was fairly tough. We had a lengthy debate about the wicket-keeping position. With Tim, it’s been widely acknowledged for a small amount of time now that he is regarded as the best gloveman in the country. Add that to the fact that he is our T20 wicketkeeper and performs very, very well there. His batting has been pretty good of late.
“Then of course you go the other side of the coin, the unconvincing performances of the other wicket-keeping contenders. That’s no disrespect to those other wicketkeepers either, because there are a couple of quite good young keepers out there that we certainly have our eye on for the future.
“Tim obviously had to play if he was asked to, I think a couple of weeks ago we obviously showed our hand by asking him to play in the Cricket Australia XI against England in Adelaide. From there, Tasmania chose him to play as a batsman, batting at No.4 in the recent Shield game. We all know he made 70-odd not out.”
Why Shaun Marsh, not Glenn Maxwell or Hilton Cartwright?
“Both those fellas were spoken about, we came up with the fact they haven’t performed well enough in the early rounds of the competition this year. As I suggested, they were going to be crucial rounds for everybody and everybody knew there were positions up for grabs so it was up to them to perform and present their case to us. We just feel Shaun Marsh, in particular if we’re going down that path again, has performed much, much better and demanded to be chosen.
“The younger players we have chosen over the past 12 months or so, at this stage haven’t given us enough performance to be chosen in the initial squad for the Ashes. The Ashes is very important, we don’t feel it’s the ideal venue to inject them again. Particularly in such an important series, when they’re not giving us the form we require. I would think it’s the type of selection that is warranted, number one, and secondly also displays we’re not just here to pick a development side as has been touted a little bit in the past. That’s just nonsense.”
Why drop Matt Renshaw for Cameron Bancroft?
“Once again, a similar reasoning to what I’ve just suggested for some of the others that were in contention. Once again, the way Matthew is playing at the moment – we don’t consider it ideal to inject him into the first Test versus England. Matthew is highly regarded by us as a selection panel, and we certainly see him as a long-term player for Australia. We’d ideally like him to go back to Sheffield Shield cricket, re-evaluate the way he’s playing and belt the door down with runs and demand selection. As Cameron Bancroft has just done.
“It took us quite a while because there were several contenders for various positions as everybody knows. There were a lot of under-performers as well, so we really didn’t have anybody jumping out at us to demand selection, except for Cameron Bancroft who put a case forward that was irresistible, and that’s really what we’re asking our players to do now.
“Not mediocre performances, we want to raise the bar, some of them belting the door down with performances to keep the pressure on the boys that have been chosen and I think that will make our whole competition, our whole Australian set-up a lot stronger, if there is good competition for positions.”
Why does there seem to be so little depth in batting in particular?
“There’s so much cricket played these days it’s very difficult to put a finger on that. Whether it’s the influence of the short form I’m not sure, but there is a lot played. We just need players that can get in there and bat for periods of time and accumulate a lot of runs. If we make enough runs I’m very confident our bowlers will do the job.”
Why has Chadd Sayers returned to the squad?
“It’s no secret that Chadd’s inclusion in the squad is with a view to the Adelaide Test match. He knows the conditions very well there, he bowls well there, so he’s an option for us if required. I’m not suggesting for one moment that he will automatically be included, but he just gives us that option for that type of bowler in those conditions.”
Source: ESPN Crickinfo