The Australian team management currently is enduring a patch of a desired dilemma. Desired, since it deals with choosing certain individuals from a group, in which everyone is in great form. One such selection headache for Darren Lehmann will be choosing between Shane Watson and Mitchell Marsh. The two talented Aussies are battling it out for the all rounder’s slot in the starting XI of the first Ashes Test.
While Mitchell Marsh scored a rapid ton against Kent and picked up a couple of wickets; Watson too scored 81 and looked in fine nick. However, with the Ashes soon to commence in Cardiff, the pressure is on Lehmann to make the call.
“It’s going to be tight, isn’t it,” Lehmann said about the contest. “I thought Marsh was exceptional in the innings as was Shane Watson to be perfectly honest. We need Watto bowling and he’ll definitely bowl in the next tour game so that’s going to be a key for us as well. So both pushed their claims really well,” he said.
“I thought Watson bowled really well in the West Indies, for a short amount of time so we know that’s important for us especially in England, he shapes the ball nicely so he’s going to have to bowl well,” Lehmann said.
Lehmann also said that Ryan Harris couldn’t take his place in the XI for granted as he had to prove his fitness. There will be no credits for players as far as we’re concerned,” Lehmann was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
“In the two Test matches in the West Indies, the three quicks who played there got 40 wickets for us so that’s really pleasing. At the end of the day Ryan Harris has got to be fully fit and if he’s doing that then he’s a big part of our side or squad going forward. He’s got to prove to us he can bowl 20 overs in an innings or roughly about that and make sure he’s ready to go. If he can do that he certainly comes into consideration. He’s obviously been one of our greats in these conditions and at the end of the day we’ve got to pick the best attack and if that’s with him in that’s with him in, if it’s not it’s not,” said Lehmann.
The Australian coach also rubbished Stuart Broad’s claims that Steven Smith would struggle at no. 3. “I thought this sledging stuff was supposed to stop,” Lehmann said. “There’s a lot of sledging going on in the media. They’re allowed to have their comments, I’m not too worried about that. I think Steven Smith’s a pretty good player – I think he got 199 at No. 3 the other week.”
“It’s pretty much always swung in the history of the game here in England and you’ve got to be a good player to make runs. I think Steven Smith is a good player,” said Lehmann.
The Australians named their XI man squad for the tour game against Essex:
Michael Clarke (c), Chris Rogers, David Warner, Adam Voges, Shane Watson, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Mitchell Starc, Ryan Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon