Have your say on selection policies.
In bat with Slats
Michael Slater is a former opening batsman for Australia and now well respected member of the Wide World of Sports cricket commentary team.
The idea that bowlers can be picked based on previous performances at particular venues is dangerous thinking, and can only lead to uncertainty and instability in a side.
If you start dropping bowlers for not previously taking wickets at a particular ground, do you then start looking at a batsman’s average at each ground?
I just can’t see it working in a fair and consistent manner. If Brett Lee and Stuart Clark are your new ball bowlers, then they should only be dropped if their form warrants it, not because last year they didn’t take wickets at that particular venue.
A player could also be dropped for consistently poor form off the field. Andrew Symonds has hit the headlines again, unfortunately for something that has happened off the field. Symonds has said he was not at fault, but in reality he probably shouldn’t have put himself in a position where trouble could find him, particularly so soon after saying he was back on track and everything was going to be alright.
I believe that you should be able to go out and socialise and enjoy a few drinks with your mates no matter what your profession, but unfortunately the world has changed enough that I suggest Symonds should have known better than to be in that situation. People soon get tired of hearing a constant stream of “I’m innocent, it wasn’t me” when such incidents occur repeatedly. They start to ask why someone like Michael Hussey or Adam Gilchrist can go out year after year without any such trouble.
I’m sure Cricket Australia will investigate thoroughly and get to the bottom of the incident, but at his age Symonds is very vulnerable to a career ending decision. It may soon reach the point where they decide that someone like Shane Watson, who has given up the drink in order to be the best cricketer he can be, is more worthy of Symonds’ spot in the side.
If Symonds really wants to turn things around, he has to make the hard calls. He doesn’t seem to be sacrificing as much as he needs to sacrifice to ensure his future in the Australia Test side. Clearly a rowdy drinking venue is not the right place for him to be at the moment.
Matthew Hayden is at an age where a bit of a form slump or performance dip has everyone saying he must be too old. If he was scoring runs, people would be saying he could play on until he was 45. I don’t think age is the issue here; it’s just a matter of him finding form.
Hayden has to avoid trying too hard, changing his natural style too much and over-analysing everything. Most importantly he needs to relax and trust his instincts. Adelaide is a ground Hayden loves playing on and he always performs well there. I believe he will find form again, in Adelaide, and you can put him down for a ton in either the first or second innings.
Brad Haddin is in a similar situation with his batting. He really needs to relax and realise that he has put years of hard work and dedication into the game to get this well deserved opportunity. I know from experience that being an aggressive batsman is a difficult label to carry through a career. People expect it from you all the time and if you actually try to be aggressive, you'll fail. It has to be completely instinctive and Haddin has that instinctively aggressive game, he just has to relax and trust his own ability.
Can bowlers be dropped based on previous efforts at each venue?
Will Matthew Hayden and Brad Haddin find form in Adelaide?
Has Andrew Symonds been given enough chances?