Infotainment Factory: Boom youngster the answer to batting woes

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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Boom youngster the answer to batting woes


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Australia faces some “short term pain” in the search for a reliable batting line-up, following the latest capitulation in the second Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.

That’s the opinion of former wicket-keeper and state coach Darren Berry, who says it will take time for new mentor Justin Langer to stamp his mark on the side.

Australia collapsed to be all out for just 145 against Pakistan, marking the fifth consecutive Test where the side has failed to reach 300 in the first innings.

But one young batsman is putting his hand up for the future, with 20-year-old Victorian Will Pucovski making 243 in a Sheffield Shield match for Victoria against Western Australia yesterday.

The highly touted youngster became just the ninth player in history to make a Shield double century before his 21st birthday, joining some of the greats of Australian cricket on the elite list.

The other eight players all went on to play Test cricket, and include Don Bradman, Ian Chappell, Doug Walters and Ricky Ponting.

“I know the Victorians have huge raps on Will. He made 243 yesterday, and that’s a real statement,” Berry told Wide World of Sports.

“Too many Aussie batsmen get out between 100 and 120. But if you pump out 243, you’re sending a message to everyone that you’re serious.

“It’s still early days with him, but he’s definitely one to watch.”

Pucovski tons up for Vics

The figures of Shaun Marsh in particular will be closely examined ahead of the first Test of the Australian summer, after a miserable series against Pakistan that has seen the 35-year-old score just 10 runs in three innings.

It follows a lean tour of South Africa last autumn, with the left-hander averaging just 14.27 in the six Tests since the Ashes finished in January.

Brother Mitch has fared little better, averaging 18.27 in the same period.

“There’s no doubt the Marsh brothers are under severe scrutiny,” Berry said.

“For a top order batsman Shaun nicks far too many balls, and Mitch has very heavy feet early in his innings which makes him susceptible to LBW or being caught on the crease.

“Once Mitch gets going he flows, but early in his innings he needs to work on more decisive feet movement.

“If you’re going to bat in the top order you need a compact technique and decisive footwork, and neither of the brothers are displaying that right now.”

Marsh falls early

In a sign of how bare the batting cupboard is, Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne have all debuted for Australia in this series despite having first class batting averages in the mid-30s.

It’s a far cry from the situation 25 years ago, when the likes of Stuart Law, Martin Love, Michael Bevan and Darren Lehmann churned out the runs at domestic level while getting few, if any, opportunities in the Australian side.

With a shortage of players demanding selection through weight of runs, Berry says the selectors will have to pick players with “the right character”, and give them time to develop into Test batsmen, similar to the situation in the 1980s when David Boon, Geoff Marsh, Dean Jones and Steve Waugh were given an extended opportunity to find their feet.

“It’s a delicate time and given we’ve gone with some newer faces they need to be supported,” Berry said.

“I’m more than happy to back Justin Langer’s ability to pick the right character. We haven’t got anyone knocking the door down by making a stack of runs, so you’ve got to pick the guys who will tough it out, and you stick with them and develop them.

“We’re going to have to wear some pain in the short term until Langer puts his imprimatur on the side because there is no stand out.

“I go back a fair way with Travis Head and he’s definitely made of the right stuff, and I think he’ll develop a good working relationship with Langer. I’m a big supporter of Travis and there’s no doubt he’ll find a way to succeed.”

Australia faces some “short term pain” in the search for a reliable batting line-up, following the latest capitulation in the second Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi.

That’s the opinion of former wicket-keeper and state coach Darren Berry, who says it will take time for new mentor Justin Langer to stamp his mark on the side.

Australia collapsed to be all out for just 145 against Pakistan, marking the fifth consecutive Test where the side has failed to reach 300 in the first innings.

But one young batsman is putting his hand up for the future, with 20-year-old Victorian Will Pucovski making 243 in a Sheffield Shield match for Victoria against Western Australia yesterday.

The highly touted youngster became just the ninth player in history to make a Shield double century before his 21st birthday, joining some of the greats of Australian cricket on the elite list.

The other eight players all went on to play Test cricket, and include Don Bradman, Ian Chappell, Doug Walters and Ricky Ponting.

“I know the Victorians have huge raps on Will. He made 243 yesterday, and that’s a real statement,” Berry told Wide World of Sports.

“Too many Aussie batsmen get out between 100 and 120. But if you pump out 243, you’re sending a message to everyone that you’re serious.

“It’s still early days with him, but he’s definitely one to watch.”

Pucovski tons up for Vics

The figures of Shaun Marsh in particular will be closely examined ahead of the first Test of the Australian summer, after a miserable series against Pakistan that has seen the 35-year-old score just 10 runs in three innings.

It follows a lean tour of South Africa last autumn, with the left-hander averaging just 14.27 in the six Tests since the Ashes finished in January.

Brother Mitch has fared little better, averaging 18.27 in the same period.

“There’s no doubt the Marsh brothers are under severe scrutiny,” Berry said.

“For a top order batsman Shaun nicks far too many balls, and Mitch has very heavy feet early in his innings which makes him susceptible to LBW or being caught on the crease.

“Once Mitch gets going he flows, but early in his innings he needs to work on more decisive feet movement.

“If you’re going to bat in the top order you need a compact technique and decisive footwork, and neither of the brothers are displaying that right now.”

Marsh falls early

In a sign of how bare the batting cupboard is, Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne have all debuted for Australia in this series despite having first class batting averages in the mid-30s.

It’s a far cry from the situation 25 years ago, when the likes of Stuart Law, Martin Love, Michael Bevan and Darren Lehmann churned out the runs at domestic level while getting few, if any, opportunities in the Australian side.

With a shortage of players demanding selection through weight of runs, Berry says the selectors will have to pick players with “the right character”, and give them time to develop into Test batsmen, similar to the situation in the 1980s when David Boon, Geoff Marsh, Dean Jones and Steve Waugh were given an extended opportunity to find their feet.

“It’s a delicate time and given we’ve gone with some newer faces they need to be supported,” Berry said.

“I’m more than happy to back Justin Langer’s ability to pick the right character. We haven’t got anyone knocking the door down by making a stack of runs, so you’ve got to pick the guys who will tough it out, and you stick with them and develop them.

“We’re going to have to wear some pain in the short term until Langer puts his imprimatur on the side because there is no stand out.

“I go back a fair way with Travis Head and he’s definitely made of the right stuff, and I think he’ll develop a good working relationship with Langer. I’m a big supporter of Travis and there’s no doubt he’ll find a way to succeed.”

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