It’s no news that Australia retained the Ashes urn after scoring that landmark victory in the 4th test against England recently. However, now that the series has been squared, with England winning the 5th test comfortably, the selection table back down-under will not find it very difficult to pick the right players for the upcoming home summer.
Australia are scheduled to play Pakistan in the 2 test series that begins from November 21, and thereafter a 3 test series against the Kiwis, starting December 12. Six players stood out in Australia’s effort to retain Ashes in England. They’ll be the best bet for the Australian test side in the near future and are guaranteed to retain their places in the squad. On the other hand are some players who couldn’t live up to the expectations and will most likely get the axe when they return home. Let’s look at these players below.
Marcus had a miserable time in the 3 tests that he played in England. He couldn’t cross the 20 mark in all the 3 matches and hasn’t scored a half-century in the last 10 innings he has played. Ever since impressing everyone with his test career debut against India some time ago, his numbers have been sliding consistently. After playing 9 tests for Australia, he averages only 24.06, giving him a very rare chance of getting a recall.
The same is the case with Bancroft whose game hasn’t been a lot different from Harris, both across his test career as well as in the recently concluded Ashes. After playing 10 tests for Australia, he averages only 26.23, with the highest score of 16 in the two matches he played against England recently. Not having done anything to impress the selectors, he will also find it difficult to make his case for the upcoming summer.
Averaging a poor 20.33 in the 3 tests that he played in England, Usman Khawaja has been replaced from his number 3 spot by Marnus Labuschagne, who came in place of Steve Smith after he suffered a concussion in the 2nd Ashes test. It’s only the fact that he averages 96.80 in that position and that all 3 openers utilised in the Ashes series flopped, that might turn things in his favour. However, Australian players are required to score runs at the lower level before getting a recall into the team. Considering that, his fellow Queenslanders Matthew Renshaw and Joe Burns stand a better chance of getting that phone call.
Marsh was pretty impressive in the one Ashes test that he played, claiming his first 5-wicket haul and swinging the ball pretty well compared to any other Australian bowler. But going forward there will two major problems with the 27 year old player – he’s unlikely to get that sort of swing with the Kookaburra ball in the Australian conditions, and his batting hasn’t been anywhere close to impressive. In addition, Australia is gradually moving away from the strategy of using all-rounders, particularly since the top order failure. Hence, it would be no surprise if Travis Head or Matthew Wade replace him in the team.