Sport

Best Aussie batters for the next generation

Adelaide Oval. Photo Credit: Jack Berry.

Adelaide Oval. Photo Credit: Jack Berry.

The shock loss to England in the Ashes by Australia’s ageing national cricket side has many fans anxiously wondering what the next generation will look like.

Considering the proceeding retirements of Michael Clarke, Chris Rogers and Brad Haddin, as well as the form of Shane Watson and the age of Adam Voges, much of that focus has been on the next generation of Australian batsmen.

So, here are five possible replacements to “Dad’s Army” that could start in the coming tour of Bangladesh and have a squad primed to return the urn in the 2017/2018 Ashes series in Australia.

1. Shaun Marsh, age 32

Since becoming the 14th Australian to score a test century on debut in his maiden innings against Sri Lanka at Pallekele in 2011, Marsh has experienced an inconsistent and injury-ravaged career.

Following his sparkling debut he was selected as the incumbent all-important number 3 batsman but was dropped following a disappointing series against India in Australia.

More recently, Marsh has been a consistent star for West Australia and scored an innings-defining 99 for Australia against India in December. He also scored a half-century for Australia against the West Indies earlier this year and two centuries during the Ashes tour against county sides Derbyshire and Kent.

2. Cameron Bancroft, age 22

Bancroft has been hailed as the perfect replacement for opener Chris Rogers, whose conservatism would combine perfectly with the explosive David Warner at the top of the batting order.

At just 22, he could open for the next generation, while his maturity and traditional grit is much needed considering the recent dramatic batting collapses in England.

In March Bancroft wore down the New South Wales bowlers with a 211 off 567 balls compiled over 13 hours, showing admirable perseverance from a young opener.

Last summer the right-hander scored 896 runs and three centuries in the Sheffield Shield for championship-winning side West Australia.

3. Joe Burns, age 25

Burns was a surprise selection to make his debut in the Boxing Day test against India last December, and although he was quiet in this match he went on to score a half century in each innings in the following match of the series at the SCG.

He has since been overlooked for the two-test series against the West Indies and England, but he represents a young classy batsman who could play anywhere from number 3 to number 6.

Last season he scored 793 runs at an average of 52.86 for Queensland in the Sheffield Shield, which included two centuries.

4. Peter Handscomb, age 24

At 24, Handscomb provides youth and experience, having debuted for Victoria in 2011 and already played 43 first-class matches.

In the recent Sheffield Shield season the right-handed batsman amassed 647 runs at an average of 53.91, which included three centuries.

Handscomb would supply steady control to the Australian middle-order, likely slotting in at number 5 behind captain Steve Smith.

5. Callum Ferguson, age 30

The South Australian is the most unlikely from this list to be considered but is very much the undeservedly forgotten star.

His experience would be invaluable to a suddenly youthful national side, yet at 30 could still provide half a decade of glistening service in a similar way to previous champions Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin.

Ferguson was a regular in the national one-day side and was tipped to receive a baggy green before a serious knee injury in the 2009 Champions Trophy final in South Africa forced him from the field for 12 months.

He has recaptured his form in the recent Sheffield Shield season, piling on 836 runs at an average of 52.25 including four centuries in a difficult year for the struggling Redbacks.

About the author

James Hall