Australian Test Ladder Part Five: The “We Were Really, Really, Wrong About Maxwell” Edition
The last time we sat down and did one of these, Australia were coming off a humiliating overseas loss, and sitting at around three or four in the Test rankings, with the possibility of subsequently heading in either direction. Move forward twelve months and, well, bugger all has changed really. They were briefly the number one team, Adam Voges scored a shit load of runs, Stephen Peter Devereux Smith looks to have aged ten years and what little shine that remained of Darren Lehmann’s leadership has quickly dissipated. Australia, frankly, look a pretty lost outfit at the moment.
Which is great for us as it makes writing these things bloody easy, with the most exciting part being seeing just how far Glenn Maxwell’s star has fallen (hint – a hell of a lot).
- Stephen Peter Devereux Smith (1) – Still the number one guy, the big cheese, the chief kahuna and whatever other phrases are applicable. As we have noted before, we hope Devereux’s back is up to it, because he is going to have to continue carrying a lot of these losers for some time yet.
Even Atlas was able to get Hercules to help out on the odd occasion.
- Mitchell Starc (6) – Not so long ago Mitchell Johnson used to sit in this position. Now it’s Starc. For as long as he can keep himself injury free (fat chance), he will be absolutely vital to Australia’s chances. Especially away from home.
- David Warner (2) – Slides down a little on the back of another useless batch of performances away from home.
- Adam Voges (5) – A mammoth home summer would have had him sitting at about number two on this list, but his series in Sri Lanka has seen him drop back down the pecking order. Whilst Warner is unlikely to ever be dropped for failing away from home, the same can’t be said of Voges. Ageism is a horrible thing.
- Peter Nevill (10) – A big move up the list, not because of any actual on-field performances, but more because everyone around him has dropped away. Still the best ‘keeper in the land though, which helps. Well, other than Chris Hartley that is, but he is never going to be picked.
- Josh Hazlewood (14) – Another big jump despite being somewhat inconsistent over the past twelve months. Although that was also a period in which he was named in the ICC’s World Test XI. A strange player for whom it’s impossible to determine whether he is over-rated or under-rated. Maybe he is just rated for now.
- Nathan Lyon (4) – The Sri Lankan tour revealed the worst about Lyon: his complete inability to win games for his country when conditions should suit him. Was outbowled convincingly by opposition spinners throughout, raising question marks once again over the wisdom of Australia’s continued employment of an offie, instead of a more aggressive minded leggie. Good thing for Lyon that Zampa is still to make his mark with the red ball.
- Usman Khawaja (13) – Another who has paid the price for a forgettable tour of Sri Lanka but his home form is likely to hold him in good stead for a while longer yet.
- Mitchell Marsh (9) – Still shit. Still contributes bugger all, especially with the bat, but still gets picked for every fucking game. Maybe he might come good one day, but honestly, we stopped caring a while ago.
- Shaun Marsh (22) – Is there any surer sign of the parlous state of Australian cricket than the increasing reliance on Shaun Marsh? Centuries in his last two Tests means a prolonged run in the first XI now looks inevitable.
- Jackson Bird (-) – When Bird last played Australia thrashed New Zealand to become the number one Test side in the land. As soon as they dropped him they turned into an utter shambles. Coincidence? We think not.
- Stephen O’Keefe (24) – Paid the price for an ill-timed injury (and some bar-room shenanigans, amongst other things), but Holland was so unfathomably shite in his absence that O’Keefe’s stocks have, if anything, only risen as a result.
- Peter Handscomb (26) – Flying up this list, Handscomb’s reputation has exploded as a result of not being part of the shambles in Sri Lanka. Is nailed down to be picked for the tour of India, and will likely feature somewhere during the home summer as well.
- James Pattinson (20) – Yeah, that guy. The one who is always injured. Suppose if he is ever not injured again he stands a good chance of playing, but that sounds like an increasingly far-fetched scenario to us.
- Joe Burns (11) – An atrocious tour of Sri Lanka has likely hurt his chances badly, despite a strong(ish) home summer. May well be punted back to Shield cricket for a while.
- Matt Wade (16) – No change here.
- Peter Siddle (8) – Forgotten, probably never to return? Yeah, pretty much.So long and thanks for all the bananas Sids.
Siddle’s retirement gift from Cricket Australia was suitably predictable.
- Pat Cummins (15) – The man, the myth, the legend. Yes, he is still alive. No, he still has played fuck all actual cricket. But that still won’t stop Australia picking him the first chance they get. Whenever that might come around.
- Moises Henriques (-) – We do love Moises around here, but the selectors seem to have little idea of what to make of him, hence he has bounced in and out of these lists quite a bit. Even though he played in Australia’s last Test (not that he did anything mind), he isn’t likely to feature again any time soon.
- Ashton Agar (19) – If he hadn’t been injured he would certainly have gone to Sri Lanka ahead of the shite Jon Holland.
- Travis Head (-) – Is already regarded as possibly a better spin all-round option than Maxwell. Which sounds a lot like damning with faint praise to us.
- Cameron Bancroft (12) – From heir apparent ahead of the ultimately aborted Bangladesh tour, Bancroft’s star has waned somewhat after an inconsistent domestic summer. Likely to feature on the tour to India though.
- Joe Mennie (-) – We could have chosen any number of quicks for this slot, including Chadd Sayers, who was actually part of the touring squad to New Zealand, or Joel Paris who would make a good stand-in for Starc. But for some reason we think Mennie will be the next to get a nod when the inevitable spate of injuries flattens all the quicks ahead of him on this list.
- Glenn Maxwell (7) – A ha. Ahahaha. How the mighty have fallen. One abandoned tour to Bangladesh seems to have set Maxwell’s Test hopes back about five years. Maybe even more if someone else can step up in the meantime. Easily the most interesting Australian cricketer of his generation (after Devereux) despite, or perhaps because of, achieving relatively little in national colours.
In retrospect, he is hardly the sort of figure to put your hopes in.
- James Faulkner (17) – Just doesn’t play enough First-class cricket. Like any. At all. Ever. For anyone. Which is a pity, as he is still likely a far better option than Mitchell Fucking Marsh.
- Travis Dean (-) – Jumps into the list after a breakout season for Victoria. If he can back it up he’ll be right in line for selection, if he doesn’t, well, at least he will have Cameron White for company on domestic duties.
- Marcus Stoinis (-) – Edges onto the list on the back of a strong domestic season, and the continued rubbishness of Mitchell March (a constant theme in these articles, it must be admitted).
- Kurtis Patterson (-) – Scoring runs again, and more importantly plays for New South Wales, the bestest Shield team there is. If he continues in the same vein he is assured of coming into consideration.
- Mitchell Swepson (-) – Has two very positive things going for him: firstly he is a leg-spinner, secondly his first name is Mitchell. Two things the Australian selectors seem to value above all else.
- Chris Lynn (23) – Whilst it is still far too early to tell, we have the inkling that Lynn will ultimately be one of those players who’ll never be given a proper chance to prove himself in Test cricket, despite his enormous potential. A new Martin Love perhaps. Or on the other hand maybe is just another Rob Quiney. Yeah, we haven’t forgotten about him.