By W D Nicolson November 26, 2011
He is South African but he is also the right man for the job.
So say Cricket Australia.
And with the Australian Summer of Cricket for 2011/2012 about to begin, Australia's new Cricket Coach Mickey Arthur has a lot to accomplish before the first ball is bowled.
Not least to begin convincing some Australians that having a South African in charge of the national team is a good idea.
|King Arthur now reigns over Australian Cricket....|
It will be Arthur's job to improve at least two of those three rankings, and it will not be easy.
There's no denying that those results are solid against one of the powers of world cricket, but when a teenager by the name of Patrick Cummins hit the winning runs in the 2nd Test in Johannesburg on November 21st, Australia still didn't have a full time head coach and the biggest story seemed to be whether or not Ricky Ponting's 62 in the 2nd Innings was enough to hold his spot for the 1st Test with New Zealand at the Gabba on December 1st.
Then in stunning news just days after Arthur's appointment, comes the realisation that Ponting's form is no longer the lead story concerning the Australian Cricket Team (well apart from any article written by News Limited's Malcolm 'What has Ricky Ponting done for me lately?' Conn in the last month - Click here for just one example of his anti-Pontiff rhetoric). Instead Cricket Australia revealed that Shane Watson (hamstring), Ryan Harris (pelvis), Shaun Marsh (back), Mitchell Johnson (foot) and Cummins (heel) are all OUT of the race to play in the 1st Test v New Zealand and Arthur's first test in charge would feature many new faces.
While Harris and Marsh did not play in the last test in Johannesburg, they did play in the opening test in Cape Town so adding up those withdrawals, it appears just EIGHT players from the 13 that featured in the Test Series against South Africa will be available for the Gabba!
That's an astounding statistic.
But it also provides Arthur and the new National Selection Panel (headed by John Inverarity and featuring Arthur, captain Michael Clarke and NSP members Rod Marsh and Andy Bichel) a chance to make some educated changes to the lineup, even if they may not be in the positions they thought they might have to address just a week ago.
This article explores the options available to the Arthur and the NSP and also the 1st Test Squad.
See Arthur's first press conference as Australia's Cricket Coach here.
Below the 1st Test Squad is a comprehensive look at 33 players we believe could be in the mix for a Test Match berth this summer.
Here is the 1st Test Squad v New Zealand and following that list are all the options before Arthur as he shapes the future of Camelot... errr Australian Cricket.
The batting lineup will be Phillip Hughes, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (c), Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin.
The bowling will feature Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon and two of James Pattinson, Ben Cutting or Mitchell Starc.
Trent Copeland tragically misses out... doing the job he was asked to do in Sri Lanka has somehow backfired in a big way.
What do you think of the 1st Test Team v New Zealand?
SUMMER OF CRICKET PREVIEW CONTINUED... 33 PLAYERS PROFILED.