Infotainment Factory: Bill Lawry's radical solution for batting woes

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Monday, 7 January 2019

Bill Lawry's radical solution for batting woes


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Former captain Bill Lawry says Mike Hussey “has a lot to answer for” as Australia searches for a solution to the batting woes that have plagued the Test side in recent months.

Just one batsman, Usman Khawaja, has scored over 500 runs in Australia’s last 10 Test matches, and the left-hander’s runs have come at the disappointing average of 32.88. In the just-completed series against India, Australia failed to record a century in a four-match home series for the first time ever.

The batting order remains in such a state of uncertainty that as many as a dozen players would consider themselves a chance of filling the six batting spots available for this month’s Test against Sri Lanka in Brisbane, while suspended pair David Warner and Steve Smith will also be in the mix when they return for the Ashes in August.

Veteran Shaun Marsh is one of those under the pump, after a disappointing 12 months where he has averaged 18.10 from 10 Tests with a highest score of 60.

Lawry says the selection panel should be looking to the formula that’s been so successful in the past.

“I just think the Australian selectors have got a choice to make. What’s wrong with youth? We’ve disregarded youth,” Lawry told Wide World of Sports.

“For a hundred years we always promoted the young blokes. Neil Harvey and Doug Walters were teenagers when they played Test cricket.

“Mike Hussey has a lot to answer for, coming in at 30 and having a sensational career. Now they think everyone has to be 30 years old before they come in. I don’t think that’s the answer.”

Mike Hussey

Opener Matt Renshaw was the last batsman to debut before turning 21, enjoying initial success to the point that he set a new record for the most Test runs by an Australian before his 21st birthday. But he’s since fallen out of favour, having played the most recent of his 11 Tests as a last-minute replacement following the Cape Town suspensions last year.

Australia gave a debut to Marcus Harris in the series against India, and the 26-year-old put together a solid series, with 258 runs at 36.85, but according to Lawry, the left-hander left some runs on the table.

“He had a good series, but he made one big mistake. He should have got a hundred,” Lawry said.

Marcus Harris

“He got a start in every innings, and in that situation you’ve got to be good enough to go on an make a century. He put his hand up, but on good pitches, when India made five hundreds, it’s not good enough we didn’t make a century.

“It shows how much India out-bowled us. Normally you’re not expecting too much trouble from the Indian pacemen, but it was totally different this time.”

Lawry, who was famously nicknamed “the corpse with pads” during his playing career for his risk-free approach to batting, was full of praise for India’s Cheteshwar Pujara, who made three hundreds in the series and scored more than Australia’s top two runscorers combined.

Pujara was named man of the series, with his first innings centuries in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney putting India in a commanding position in each of the three matches.

“He showed great concentration, he took the sting out of the Australian attack, it was a great example of Test match batting and unfortunately there’s not enough of them around,” Lawry said.

“He gave India the solidity you need, having a batsman who can bat for a long time and make hundreds. It was a superb effort.”

Former captain Bill Lawry says Mike Hussey “has a lot to answer for” as Australia searches for a solution to the batting woes that have plagued the Test side in recent months.

Just one batsman, Usman Khawaja, has scored over 500 runs in Australia’s last 10 Test matches, and the left-hander’s runs have come at the disappointing average of 32.88. In the just-completed series against India, Australia failed to record a century in a four-match home series for the first time ever.

The batting order remains in such a state of uncertainty that as many as a dozen players would consider themselves a chance of filling the six batting spots available for this month’s Test against Sri Lanka in Brisbane, while suspended pair David Warner and Steve Smith will also be in the mix when they return for the Ashes in August.

Veteran Shaun Marsh is one of those under the pump, after a disappointing 12 months where he has averaged 18.10 from 10 Tests with a highest score of 60.

Lawry says the selection panel should be looking to the formula that’s been so successful in the past.

“I just think the Australian selectors have got a choice to make. What’s wrong with youth? We’ve disregarded youth,” Lawry told Wide World of Sports.

“For a hundred years we always promoted the young blokes. Neil Harvey and Doug Walters were teenagers when they played Test cricket.

“Mike Hussey has a lot to answer for, coming in at 30 and having a sensational career. Now they think everyone has to be 30 years old before they come in. I don’t think that’s the answer.”

Mike Hussey

Opener Matt Renshaw was the last batsman to debut before turning 21, enjoying initial success to the point that he set a new record for the most Test runs by an Australian before his 21st birthday. But he’s since fallen out of favour, having played the most recent of his 11 Tests as a last-minute replacement following the Cape Town suspensions last year.

Australia gave a debut to Marcus Harris in the series against India, and the 26-year-old put together a solid series, with 258 runs at 36.85, but according to Lawry, the left-hander left some runs on the table.

“He had a good series, but he made one big mistake. He should have got a hundred,” Lawry said.

Marcus Harris

“He got a start in every innings, and in that situation you’ve got to be good enough to go on an make a century. He put his hand up, but on good pitches, when India made five hundreds, it’s not good enough we didn’t make a century.

“It shows how much India out-bowled us. Normally you’re not expecting too much trouble from the Indian pacemen, but it was totally different this time.”

Lawry, who was famously nicknamed “the corpse with pads” during his playing career for his risk-free approach to batting, was full of praise for India’s Cheteshwar Pujara, who made three hundreds in the series and scored more than Australia’s top two runscorers combined.

Pujara was named man of the series, with his first innings centuries in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney putting India in a commanding position in each of the three matches.

“He showed great concentration, he took the sting out of the Australian attack, it was a great example of Test match batting and unfortunately there’s not enough of them around,” Lawry said.

“He gave India the solidity you need, having a batsman who can bat for a long time and make hundreds. It was a superb effort.”

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