Following Australia’s worst ever one day international series loss, a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of England which saw them relinquish their 1st place ranking, the Aussies needed to prove that they can still be one of the world’s best sides with a good series win against the Pakistanis in the United Arab Emirates.
Although they didn’t play their best cricket, the Australians played decently in hot, humid conditions that were never going to be easy. They scraped through with a 2-1 series win, and honestly didn’t look anywhere near their best.
It seems to be the players in the line-up that is the biggest problem the Australian side. It’s clearly evident from the series that there are problems in the batting line-up and further question marks about our spinning stocks were raised.
Let’s take a look at each players efforts throughout the series and graded their performances:
David Warner: D
This man will never succeed in ODIs unless he walks out and swings the bat from ball one. It works for him in Twenty20 cricket, whilst in test matches he waits for the poor deliveries and puts them away. In ODIs he seems to be caught in between his two styles of playing and it really just doesn’t seem to work. His 24 off 68 balls in the 2nd match was just about the worst innings he has played in his career so far, and left his team in a very poor position batting first, in a game they went on to lose. David Warner is going to be playing all 3 forms of the game for a long time, and if he can’t successfully play an Adam Gilchrist style role at the top of the order, I wouldn’t mind seeing him slide down the order as an aggressive finisher. 50 runs off 112 balls at a strike rate of 44.64… simply not good enough considering his role in the side.
Matthew Wade: B-
Matty Wade continues to impress behind the stumps and battled in some extremely tough conditions throughout the series. His batting left a bit to be desired, but the 75 he scored against Afghanistan during the lead-up game should be enough to keep the selectors happy.
Michael Clarke: B
After the failed experiment of batting Peter Forrest at number three, Clarke put his hand up and rightfully slotted himself into the important position which has seen five others trialed in the past 12 months. The captain didn’t disappoint, scoring the most runs of any of the Australian batsmen with 135 runs at an average of 45, including a match winning 66 in the first ODI. He continues to prove himself as Australia’s best top order batsman, lifting his game to the next level over the last 12 months.
David Hussey: C+
The younger Hussey scored 46 runs for the series, with 43 of those coming in his last innings. Hussey didn’t have a great series, but with his handy overs with the ball and aggressive batting he should have no worries about keeping his place in the side.
Michael Hussey: A
Mr Cricket batted at number 4 for this series and as the oldest member of the team, seemed to handle the energy sapping conditions better than anyone else. He scored two hard fought half centuries and reminded everyone that despite his age, still has a lot left in the tank. By far the best Aussie batsman for the series.
George Bailey: B
There is a lot to like about George Bailey and I appreciate the Cricket Australia board’s decision to appoint him captain of the Twenty20 side. Whether there is someone who is more deserved of a spot in side, Bailey has done a good job in this rebuilding phase of the ODI lineup. Another solid series including a battling 57 in the first ODI, can’t really complain about this bloke.
Glenn Maxwell: B+
Brought into the side as a handy off-spinner and an aggressive late order slogger, the young Victorian did not disappoint. His bowling wasn’t that great and the conditions were definitely not in his favour, but in my opinion his bowling shouldn’t be put under the microscope as his batting is what stole the show. Warner could learn a bit from Maxwell, he simply did what he is in the side to do. It’s evident from watching him play that he isn’t going to be successful every innings, but when it works, he looks just as dangerous at the crease than anyone else in world cricket. His 56 off 38 deliveries in the 3rd ODI proved that he is more than capable at international level and showcased his potential.
Dan Christian: C-
He didn’t have a great series, didn’t have a bad series, just bowled his required overs and came in late in order with the bat. Christian is a similar mould to James Hopes, he can bat a bit and bowl a bit, he does have a lot of potential though – more with the bat than the ball – but won’t do amazingly until he can find some consistency. If John Hastings was fit, he might not be in the side.
Mitchell Johnson: C+
There are many terms that Mitch come under, but lets just say that few have failed to live up to their potential in the way Johnson has. He was offered a two year contract after a good 2010/11 season but it’s hard to say whether he will be in the side in a year’s time.
James Pattinson: B
After taking the cricket world by storm over the Australian summer, Pattinson started the series superbly with an economic 3 for 19 off 9.1 overs. He struggled a little coming of the back of this, uncharacteristically leaking quite a few runs in last two matches. Pattinson must be under a lot of pressure to continue to play in a similar vein of form as he did over summer, but is handling himself quite well.
Mitchell Starc: A
Starc is continuing to improve and impress since becoming a member of the side. With his controlled swing and great line and length, Starc is unplayable when at his best. He showed the Pakistanis that it’s not all about swing on these types and pitches, deservedly taking man of series with 9 wickets at 15.11. Definitely one for the future.
Xavier Doherty: D
Played the game against Afghanistan leading up to the series and reminded the selectors why he shouldn’t be in the team. It’s hard to love a negative bowler like Doherty and there should be doubts beginning to form as to whether he will play another ODI for Australia. Perhaps it is time to bring in Jon Holland or Nathan Lyon.