Australian Ashes Team Gets Instant Pushback
Tim Paine’s selection as Australia’s wicketkeeper for the first Ashes Test starting at the Gabba on 23 November is the most controversial of the selectors’ choices, and the team announcement on Friday sparked an instant debate among cricket pundits and fans online. Writers in both commercial and social media have accused selectors of ‘hypocrisy’.
The Twitter hashtag #Ashes was awash with tweets after the side was revealed, with Paine’s name coming up frequently. Many fans are upset that the 32-year-old Tasmanian, who hasn’t kept for the Baggy Greens in a Test in seven years, won his spot over Tasmania teammate Matt Wade, who has been keeping and batting for the Tigers all season.
Paine’s champions point out that Wade hasn’t been in the best form lately, and many sprang to the selectors’ defence as well, insisting they’re better qualified to pick Australia’s best team than random punters.
Former Baggy Greens wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist posted a more diplomatic tweet, saying: ‘A few tough calls on a few blokes for sure, but I’m pretty comfy with the Aussie team. Balanced, in touch and ready. Go well lads.’
Marsh In, Renshaw Out
The controversial inclusion of Shaun Marsh in Australia’s batting line-up, recalled for the eighth time despite a record that remains spotty, crushed the hopes of other promising young batsmen. Some of Marsh’s critics reckon that either of South Australia’s two Jakes, Weatherald or Lehmann, would have been a better choice.
But it’s Matt Renshaw who many feel has been hardest done by. He was in great form earlier this year in Pakistan, and it’s a bitter blow to his fans that a few iffy Sheffield Shield performances and lots of negative press have denied the Queenslander a shot at England in Brisbane.
Welcome Debut for Cameron Bancroft
No one is saying that debutant Cameron Bancroft doesn’t deserve his spot in the side, but the anti-Marsh contingent argue there was no need for him to be Australia’s opener.
If Renshaw had been picked above Marsh and put in at number one, they claim, Bancroft could just as easily have begun his Test career at number six. That’s how other Australian eventual-openers, like Simon Katich and legendary Justin Langer, made their Test debuts.
If Marsh and Paine want to silence the complainers, they’re going to have to do it out on the pitch this week. Australia are favourites to win at around $1.70, with England at $3.75 and a draw offered at $4.50.
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