Opinion

Time to sit down, be humble

by
November 28, 2017

Just watching Glenn Maxwell's 278 made me thirsty. The swashbuckling smasher showed his ability to go big, and has heaped pressure on every batter in the Australian line-up.

David Warner and Cameron Bancroft embrace after grinding England's bowlers into the dirt. Australian batsmen David Warner (left) and Cameron Bancroft celebrate after Australia won on Day 5 of the First Test match between Australia and England at the Gabba in Brisbane, Monday, November 27, 2017. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM AAP

Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith enjoyed their post match presser after smashing England. Cameron Bancroft (left) and Steve Smith (right) are seen reacting as they answer questions from the media about England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow at a post match press conference on Day 5 of the First Ashes Test match between Australia and England at the Gabba in Brisbane, Monday, November 27, 2017. (AAP Image/Darren England) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM AAP

I am tucking into a large serving of humble pie.

Sport is a business, and the business world runs on key performance indicators.

But while in one the KPI list is as long as the receipt for a lunch meeting, in the sporting arena there is only one indicator that matters — results.

Winning or losing determines how good a National Selection Panel is and, as I watched David Warner and Cameron Bancroft carry their bats to conclude the first Ashes Test, the NSP champagne corks popped loud and clear for all to hear.

Yes, Steve Smith’s gritty, unbeaten ton papered over plenty of cracks and Pat Cummins proved his worth is not only measured in wickets taken and tail-ender’s frightened, but in the end a win is a win.

So kudos to Trevor and his merry men, you got what you wanted, the way you wanted.

But if you think that’s where I’m going to leave it you must be new to Maher’s Musings.

Let’s pull back the paper from those cracks and see if we can’t open them a bit wider — after all, we have 278 reasons to do so.

SELECTIONS

Cameron Bancroft

Hitting the winning runs on Test debut goes pretty close to being a perfect start for the West Australian.

Was always the easy selection with a mountain of runs coming in the opening stages of the Sheffield Shield season, but would have been nervous after falling for five in the first innings.

Made up for it with unflinching physicality and an unbeaten 82.

Big tick for the NSP.

Shaun Marsh

The man under the most pressure with his selection in the side did exactly what he was there to do.

Marsh rescued a possibly calamitous collapse, dug in for 141 balls and made 51 crucial runs in the first innings before not being needed in the second.

Will play in the second Test — if his face recovers from that outfield falcon — and will feel much more at ease.

Begrudging tick for Trevor and the boys.

Tim Paine

How quick was Paine’s ticker beating when he grassed that chance off the GOAT?

Found his redemption quick enough to secure his spot, catching Moeen Ali out of ground by the sniff of a paint can and making the non-walker march back to the stands with supersonic hearing.

Who says you have to keep wicket for your state to keep for your country? Not the NSP that’s for sure.

Another tick, but with a ‘‘runs needed’’ asterisk firmly affixed.

NON-SELECTIONS

Matt Renshaw

Scored 18 out of Queensland’s first innings score of 424 and has not passed 20 this summer.

I still advocate that he should have been the one saving the day in Marsh’s spot at the Gabba, but you just can’t argue with a 10-wicket win.

Needs a big hundred.

Glenn Maxwell

Did I just say that you can’t argue with a 10-wicket win? I take that back.

Boy oh boy, the ‘‘Big Show’’ put on the biggest show of them all against NSW with 278 from 318 deliveries.

For those of you who are slow on the uptake with maths, that’s a near triple ton at a strike rate (87.42) that most limited overs number threes would be happy with.

It’s a crying shame that he could not turn one of his Shield 60s into an innings of note, but maybe this omission was the making of Glenn Maxwell the Test superstar.

At least that’s what the NSP will say.

Every wicketkeeper who actually keeps for his state

I have little sympathy for the keepers of the domestic scene.

None did enough to make the NSP pick them, so left the door open for a left-field selection that they will now surely cling onto like a hungry dog with a bone.

Peter Nevill, Matthew Wade and Alex Carey mustered only 93 runs between them in five innings this round to the time of writing.

Not stirring stuff from blokes with careers on the line.

The Adelaide Test begins on Saturday, and with it brings new questions.

Can Australia fit Chadd Sayers into the side? Has Maxwell done enough to regain his spot? Will Channel Nine ever diversify its coverage team?

I don’t have the answers to these questions right now, (except the latter — no), but I will endeavour to find them out for you.

In fact, I’m going to put my boots on the ground and sniff them out from under the Adelaide Oval scoreboard itself.

See you at the Woolshed.

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