Originally Posted by oldmancraigy
What exactly is it that makes O'Keefe 'mediocre' in comparison to any of the other spinners in the country? He's the only one of them to average under 30 at first class level - and in fact all of the others are either very close to 40, or over it.
?Khawaja or Lyon?
I really can't see why we'd bother persisting with Cowan, a "batsman" who can't score runs. Khawaja is the future, but given the inexperience of the team I think we need to get someone in who is well versed to face the conditions in England. Dave Hussey fills that void, and can roll his arm over as well.
Watson is back opening where he averages 40+, makes sense to me....
Maxwell is in just because he can bat a bit. His off-spin is "handy", and frankly there's a struck match between his bowling and Lyons. Maxwell has 7 shield wickets at 25 this season. Either he or Dave Hussey have to be able to 'grind out' some overs and either will pose as much threat as Lyon.
The quicks are tough to pick. Siddle is a line and length workhorse and so is probably worth a shot. It's either him or Bird for that final position - I'd worry that the conditions won't suit Bird's swing?
Starc is a lock since he has the ability to produce a "wicket ball" out of nowhere, and that's one way for a quick to get a wicket on a dud pitch.
Pattinson just has that sheer pace to threaten in new ball spells, and can rough up their bowlers. Class act and simply has to play.
It's just so hard to win in India that I'd go for a deep deep batting lineup like this with 3 spin options to make the most of lifeless pitches.
I know there is buckleys that a squad like this would get chosen, there seems to be a foolish fascination with underperformers, but we need to bite the bullet and move on eventually. Debuting 3 guys isn't ideal, and if people wanted to argue for selecting Lyon and leaving Maxwell home I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. I just can't see the point in a non-penetrating spinner (Lyon) who can't do anything else. Maxwell is more dangerous at first class level, I can't see why he wouldn't be at test level too? And again, he gives us that extra batting to compensate on the dodgy pitches!!
I like O'Keefe, but people have been falling into the trap with his average for ages. I'm sure every other First Class spinner in the country would've absolutely loved to have their career figures boosted by this match
on what was probably the most spin-friendly pitch served up for a First Class fixture in my lifetime. It was an absolute bunsen by all reports and Senanayake and O'Keefe combining for 15 wickets in the first innings backs that up. No doubt that you have to bowl well to take 7/35 but the other bowlers didn't get that opportunity on that wicket, and he still
didn't do anything in the second innings.
He averages ~ 31 in the Sheffield Shield, which is still a very good average for a spinner in Australian conditions, but he's still very much an Australian conditions spinner in that he's just a tight stock bowler more than anything else. If the pitch is favouring spin and you need him to be a strike bowler he's not going to be able to do it for you unless it's favouring spin to the absurd degree the pitch for the match I linked above was and, again, by all reports it's something we'd never see an international level.
Last season O'Keefe took 9 wickets in 7 games at an average of 52; he was comfortably outbowled by the likes of Beer (26 wickets @ 26), Doherty (19w @ 26), Boyce (20w @ 34). Even part-timers Katich (10w @ 20) and Maxwell (16w @ 29) managed to not only average better than him but take more wickets
in substantially fewer overs. His form has been better again this season, and an argument could be made to suggest that he's actually the best man for the Test XI at home if Watson's bowling because he plays the support role better, but in India you definitely need a spinner more capable of taking genuine wickets (and Watson isn't bowling anyway).
On your point about Shield average with the ball this season.. I like Maxwell more than most of this forum in general, but you do realise how much easier it is to maintain a good average when you're used in the role Maxwell has been for Victoria this season, right? I mean, he's taken seven wickets FFS. It's a whole different thing actually being used as a frontline bowler, and I think CA are probably a bit annoyed Maxwell hasn't been given more challenging spells, but it is what it is.
I'm not even going to dignify the Dave Hussey bowling thing with a response.
FTR, I've got no beef with O'Keefe being the backup spinner in India. It's probably how I'd lean at the moment. Ahead of Lyon in subcontinent conditions though? Nah.