Mark Taylor is a former Test opening batsman who captained Australia from 1994–1999. He is now a respected member of Channel Nine's cricket commentary team.
There were plenty of positives to come from Australia’s one-day series against Sri Lanka, but we still desperately need another quality batsman.
The retirements of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey has left a huge void in our line-up and while Phil Hughes has put his hand up to fill Ponting’s shoes, Hussey is being sorely missed. He’s not in the side because selectors are trying to form a team that will still be around for the 2015 World Cup and now it’s up to our selectors to get it right.
I like the look of Matthew Wade at the top of the order because he has a lovely technique, but when you’re batting your wicketkeeper in your top five, your middle order can quickly become exposed on wickets that are doing a bit, which we’ve seen this summer.
It’s my preference that the keeper bats lower, so that allrounders come in at seven, rather than six. It makes that middle order more rigid, which is crucial against potent bowling attacks.
Michael Clarke will likely be back for the one-day series against the West Indies, but I can still see other Aussie batsmen being tried.
I still don’t know what the selectors are doing with Usman Khawaja. He got one game, ran himself out and then didn’t play again. I didn’t quite understand that selection and where it was going. They’ve either got to give him another go, or give Aaron Finch another crack. Finch can play. I’ve watched him in Twenty20 cricket and you can’t hit the ball as well as he does and not be able to play other forms of the game. The other thing going for him is that he’s a right hander. While I’ve always been a fan of my fellow lefties, the fact is that we have a lot of left-handed batsmen. It would be nice to see a right-hander break up the order.
Hughes’ two centuries was a great sign for Aussie fans. He still has his own unique technique, but he’s tightened that technique and he continues to prove that when he gets a start, he can make a big score. While a lot of people might think that every batsman knows how to make centuries, the fact is that there are batsmen who do it better than others and Hughes is among the best of them. He’s made hundreds in Test cricket, he’s done it in First Class cricket and now he’s done it in one-day cricket. He only got two starts in that series against Sri Lanka and ended up with two Man of the Match awards.
I believe the other positive for the Aussies is Moises Henriques. He’s a real talent and I believe he can be a really good player. He just needs to feel at home in the Aussie outfit. All he needs is a bit of confidence and he can be an excellent allrounder. He bowls well, he can hit the ball well and he’s a good fieldsman and while he is a particularly good fit for the one-day format, he could easily push for selection in the Test team.
At the other end of the spectrum, we seem to have abundant talent among our bowlers. Clint McKay bowled well throughout the ODI series and Mitchell Starc impressed with both the ball and bat. When the Aussies get all of their pacemen back they’ll be a handful for any of the world’s top sides.