Infotainment Factory: Taylor's Ashes concerns following Indian debacle

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Sunday, 6 January 2019

Taylor's Ashes concerns following Indian debacle


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Former captain Mark Taylor says Australia’s squad for this year’s Ashes series remains wide open, in a damning indictment of the performance of the current side.

With India wrapping up their first ever Test series victory in this country, and the return of banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner a mere formality, the side that takes the field in Birmingham in August is likely to look significantly different to the eleven currently playing in Sydney.

Having missed his opportunity to step up as a senior batsman in Smith and Warner’s absence, Shaun Marsh's disappointing performance against India should end his Test career, according to Taylor.

Taylor also admits pace spearhead Mitchell Starc could come under pressure, following a series where he’s collected 13 wickets at an average of 34.53.

“I believe at this stage it’s impossible to pick an Ashes side, which is a reflection on how unsettled things are,” Taylor told Wide World of Sports.

“There’s still two Tests against Sri Lanka, and four Shield matches for someone to put their hand up.”

With Smith and Warner still suspended for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka later this month, Taylor has joined the calls for Western Australia’s Marcus Stoinis to be given a shot a Test level.

Stoinis is averaging 42 with the bat in this summer’s Sheffield Shield competition, and has also contributed 10 wickets at 25. Shane Warne has made it clear he’s a big fan of the 29-year-old, and Taylor says the time is right to see if he can handle the next level.

“Stoinis looks to me like a guy who’s starting to own the game, he’s becoming that senior batsman. I know he’s done it in white ball cricket, and I feel he’s ready to step up.

Marcus Stoinis

“He’d be the guy I’d be looking to give an opportunity to before England, to see if he’s the one who can fill the number six role.

“The other player who I’d consider is Glenn Maxwell. He’s averaging 41 in first class cricket, and it’s probably unfair to consider him as an all-rounder rather than a specialist batsman who contributes occasionally with the ball.”

While Taylor would “reluctantly” draw the curtain on Marsh’s Test career, he said Peter Handscomb also needed to go back to first class cricket to work on his game. With the Ashes top order expected to be made up of Warner, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja and Smith, it leaves a fight for two spots.

The former Australian skipper believes Stoinis and Maxwell are locked in a battle with incumbents Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head to make up the top six for England.

Glenn Maxwell

And while rookies such as 20-year-old Will Pucovski have been mentioned as a possible smoky, Taylor has urged caution, especially as Ashes tours no longer comprise the extensive schedule of county games as they once did.

“It would be great to take a bolter to England, but if you do that, you’ve got to pick someone who’s confident and ready to play Test cricket,” Taylor said.

“In 1993 there was talk about Ricky Ponting going to England at the age of 18. They didn’t pick him, but they probably could have. He was obviously technically very good, but just as importantly he also had that brash confidence that told you he was ready to go.”

Australia’s batting has been the subject of much debate during the series, but Taylor admits the bowling will also be the subject of scrutiny, after India piled on the runs.

Tim Paine confirmed during the Sydney Test that Mitchell Starc is down on confidence, his 25 wickets in the last 12 months coming at cost of nearly 36 apiece.

Mitchell Starc

“I think Starc’s under pressure for sure, especially when you pay attention to what Tim Paine said,” Taylor said.

“We keep referring to this bowling attack as the best in the world, but right now it isn’t working that way, especially with the new ball.

“I think we’ve got to start looking for someone who genuinely swings the new ball.

“When we talk about swing, it seems we’ve become paranoid about reverse swing, and I’m sure that’s one of the reasons we had the Cape Town incident.

“Players don’t seem to be thinking about just swinging the ball – that means shining one side of it, and getting it to swing in a conventional fashion.”

Australia holds the Ashes after a 4-0 victory last summer, but with the team in such a state of flux it would be a brave punter who puts their hard-earned on the Aussies to retain the urn later this year.

Former captain Mark Taylor says Australia’s squad for this year’s Ashes series remains wide open, in a damning indictment of the performance of the current side.

With India wrapping up their first ever Test series victory in this country, and the return of banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner a mere formality, the side that takes the field in Birmingham in August is likely to look significantly different to the eleven currently playing in Sydney.

Having missed his opportunity to step up as a senior batsman in Smith and Warner’s absence, Shaun Marsh's disappointing performance against India should end his Test career, according to Taylor.

Taylor also admits pace spearhead Mitchell Starc could come under pressure, following a series where he’s collected 13 wickets at an average of 34.53.

“I believe at this stage it’s impossible to pick an Ashes side, which is a reflection on how unsettled things are,” Taylor told Wide World of Sports.

“There’s still two Tests against Sri Lanka, and four Shield matches for someone to put their hand up.”

With Smith and Warner still suspended for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka later this month, Taylor has joined the calls for Western Australia’s Marcus Stoinis to be given a shot a Test level.

Stoinis is averaging 42 with the bat in this summer’s Sheffield Shield competition, and has also contributed 10 wickets at 25. Shane Warne has made it clear he’s a big fan of the 29-year-old, and Taylor says the time is right to see if he can handle the next level.

“Stoinis looks to me like a guy who’s starting to own the game, he’s becoming that senior batsman. I know he’s done it in white ball cricket, and I feel he’s ready to step up.

Marcus Stoinis

“He’d be the guy I’d be looking to give an opportunity to before England, to see if he’s the one who can fill the number six role.

“The other player who I’d consider is Glenn Maxwell. He’s averaging 41 in first class cricket, and it’s probably unfair to consider him as an all-rounder rather than a specialist batsman who contributes occasionally with the ball.”

While Taylor would “reluctantly” draw the curtain on Marsh’s Test career, he said Peter Handscomb also needed to go back to first class cricket to work on his game. With the Ashes top order expected to be made up of Warner, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja and Smith, it leaves a fight for two spots.

The former Australian skipper believes Stoinis and Maxwell are locked in a battle with incumbents Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head to make up the top six for England.

Glenn Maxwell

And while rookies such as 20-year-old Will Pucovski have been mentioned as a possible smoky, Taylor has urged caution, especially as Ashes tours no longer comprise the extensive schedule of county games as they once did.

“It would be great to take a bolter to England, but if you do that, you’ve got to pick someone who’s confident and ready to play Test cricket,” Taylor said.

“In 1993 there was talk about Ricky Ponting going to England at the age of 18. They didn’t pick him, but they probably could have. He was obviously technically very good, but just as importantly he also had that brash confidence that told you he was ready to go.”

Australia’s batting has been the subject of much debate during the series, but Taylor admits the bowling will also be the subject of scrutiny, after India piled on the runs.

Tim Paine confirmed during the Sydney Test that Mitchell Starc is down on confidence, his 25 wickets in the last 12 months coming at cost of nearly 36 apiece.

Mitchell Starc

“I think Starc’s under pressure for sure, especially when you pay attention to what Tim Paine said,” Taylor said.

“We keep referring to this bowling attack as the best in the world, but right now it isn’t working that way, especially with the new ball.

“I think we’ve got to start looking for someone who genuinely swings the new ball.

“When we talk about swing, it seems we’ve become paranoid about reverse swing, and I’m sure that’s one of the reasons we had the Cape Town incident.

“Players don’t seem to be thinking about just swinging the ball – that means shining one side of it, and getting it to swing in a conventional fashion.”

Australia holds the Ashes after a 4-0 victory last summer, but with the team in such a state of flux it would be a brave punter who puts their hard-earned on the Aussies to retain the urn later this year.

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