I have to admit I was just a touch surprised to hear that the Aussie sqaud for the 1st test is bigger than that of the entire English (test) touring squad, this would appear to be sending out mixed signals and the move could be interpretated in differing ways.
It could be viewed as a desperate attempt by Andrew Hilditch to buy himself some extra time to make some of the big decisions needed as he seems to be a man under some serious pressure at the moment, although this would surely be seen as a sign of weakness from him.
Naming Usman Khawaja and Callum Ferguson in the list seems to suggest that Hilditch is considering dropping Hussey or North. But in dropping either of them, surley Hilditch would just be finally admitting what a hell of a lot of people have been telling him for some time – and in doing so, probably weakening his position even further.
But there is a concern over Michael Clarke’s back again, so naming batting cover could be seen as a sensible decision.
The bowling department is also as equally confusing. There are 3 spinners and 5 seamers vying for the 4 spots. I would have to imagine that Johnson and Hilfenhaus are definate starters and that Bollinger has probably proved himself enough over the last 12 months to get recalled after his recent injury.
Nathan Hauritz would appear to be the man with most to worry about. He got hammered in India and now not only does he have all-rounder Steven Smith to compete with, but Xavier Doherty who performed well in the recent ODI series with Sri Lanka.
From an English point of view, I think Strauss would be only too happy to see Hauritz continue, England know full well what to expect from him and his confidence must be low at the moment. Smith is a bit unknown and I would imagine that England know little or nothing at all about Doherty.
One thing that all this does show is just how uncertain the whole Australian set-up is these days, when have we ever seen this sort of confusion before? This looks like the actions of a desperate man from Hilditch, it’s as if the recent run of defeats has scrambled peoples brains.
But could all this be wrongly building up England’s confidence though? Could the Aussies be lulling the English into thinking that they are all over the place at the moment and there for the taking?
If you look at things from a slightly different veiw point you could say that the much maligned Marcus North is actually in good form as he hit a century in the recent Indian tour, and that Australia were only a crooked Billy Bowden finger away from winning the 1st test of that same series. Crap teams don’t come that close to winning in India.
England would do well not to get sucked into this apparent confusion. If we think the Aussies are lurching from one disaster to another, we could be in for a shock.