The Ashes survival plan for Australia’s batsmen: part one

Forget your feelgood stories about Boof and Fawad.

And don’t try to sell me the cheap stock of cruisey County beatings.

Australia ain’t coming back from England with the urn. They’ll be returning with a red arse, and we all know it.

Upon the team’s homecoming, we of the discerning public will be looking to whip those already-tender cheeks ourselves, and predictions are the bulk of the cane’s workload will be saved for the supple behinds of the batsmen.

Nobody besides Michael Clarke is a fait accompli selection based on record and reputation.

This means one thing: to the grubby yet greater-skilled English carnies, the rest of our trembling stick-wielders are sitting ducks who are all within two bad knocks of tasting the axe.

So what can these dead men walking do to keep their positions?

Over a two-part series of unreasonable determinations, I attempt to find the minimum pass mark for our batsmen to ensure the extended Ashes oxygen of  the Australian summer’s return series.

Chris Rogers

He’s a Fanta-cap in goggles, old enough to remember Tab Cola and possessing stuff-all authority in the locker room. Amongst this superficial supporter base and a playing group in a state of flux, he’s starting from a long way back.

With no medicine to reverse the aging process, the only chance of Rogers surviving lies in the Mike Hussey blueprint.

He’s got the required bulk of first class runs behind him, so now it’s down to whether he can stake a claim for the vacant status of ‘respected and grey-flecked elder statesman’ amongst the daycare nursery that is the current team environment.

This rise to reliable old cheese could be achieved in various ways. He can quietly lead the way with crucial runs in the middle, he can display a strong example at training through good discipline or alternatively, he can set a pace in post-stumps boat races that even Boonie would find unassailable.

Shane Watson

Once an irreplaceable resource, this bloke has plummeted to being nothing more than a naughty boy who troubles team harmony more often than the scorer. He needs some serious magic this series or he could find himself banished to the billions of dollars of the T20 mercenary scrapheap, or worst still, punished with the Test captaincy.

Watson and Rogers discuss blonding techniques.

Watson and Rogers discuss blonding techniques.

However, in early tour doings it’s been all Wattotastic again, meaning he’s in the box seat to return to that cushy place contractually reserved for him in the cockles of the selector’s hearts.

With the courteous and rational managerial style of Mickey Arthur finally in the rear-view mirror and the opener’s position his again, I fully expect him to be in the right frame of mind to produce what’s required on this tour to hold his spot, and that’s six solid weeks of bootlicking Michael Clarke.

David Warner

The one-time platinum project player of Australian cricket has shed many a layer of gloss after a couple of imbecilic offshore incidents.

Were his cricketing bearings lingering way too long in Delhi-mode, where attending a private party to consume 25 samosas and a six-pack passes as a legitimate post-match warm down? Or was he deeply affected by the boredom of the Champions Trophy like the rest of us?

Regardless of what feeble excuse applies, Warner is starting to return to a good place after undergoing an intensive rehabilitation program that has reminded him to belt Dukes, not beards.

Should he manage to keep his thumbs and knuckles out of trouble- whether it be from a Messers Finn and Broad bouncer barrage, the chin of an underdeveloped man or an iPhone- there’s a chance he’ll be back in his undeserving role of potential future captain by series end.

Steve Smith

Before his shock selection on the last Test tour to India, this bloke was seen sitting on the Kurnell sand dunes doing his best impression of ‘The Thinker’ as he contemplated the crossroads that his choppy career had come to.

As he endlessly mulled over whether he was a batsman who bowled or a bowler who batted, our shrewd selectors at the time identified him as a man possessing the courageous conviction and single-minded self-belief that belongs in the Test arena. And that’s why they’re on the big bucks.

It’s fair to say that Smith won’t be filling the English creams with mud of terror, but he can make opposition complacency his best friend with an unlikely ambush.

There’s not an ounce of pressure on the young lad, so he should play his natural game provided it doesn’t involve snicking the rock to the ‘keeper before he’s reached double figures and/or Americanised glove-taps.

Has a great chance of saving his position provided the ball doesn’t swing for the duration of the series.

Tomorrow: Medication plans for Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja. 

Leave a comment


  1. Aggs

     /  July 7, 2013

    I was hoping for some misguided optimism, not this clear minded objectivity. Bugger.

  2. Any optimism is misguided when it comes to this imminent slaughter. Perhaps you would be better served asking Pigeon for a prediction? He’s always good for seeing the sunny side pre-Ashes.

  1. The Ashes survival plan for Australia’s batsmen: part two | Stand, spray and deliver.

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