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The Next Generation of Australian Cricket (Part 2)
by Readers Columnist Corner (Other)
Posted on January 19, 2007, 10:18 AM

INTRODUCTION
Welcome to the second part of this piece. The introduction and rationale for development are contained in part one located here. Moving on then:

WICKET-KEEPERS

Brad Haddin
Right-hand Middle Order Batsman, Wicket-keeper


Despite the massive frustration it must cause him, Brad Haddin now occupies the same position Adam Gilchrist held from the mid-90s right through to the turn of the century – waiting for the international incumbent to draw the curtain and declare time on his career. For Gilchrist it was the great Ian Healy for whom he had to wait and in whose footsteps he must follow. Haddin’s task is all the more daunting as, where Gilchrist had to follow a great, Haddin must follow a legend. With the gloves he is international class while his batting is more than capable, despite not coming close to that of his predecessor. He is more of a strokemaker, capable of batting anywhere from number four down to number eight, though he has also shown a penchant for opening in one day matches. He has served his apprenticeship, performing ably when called upon and stepping aside gracefully when required. Young starlets Tim Paine, Chris Hartley, Luke Ronchi and Adam Crosthwaite will all be eyeing the same slot as Haddin, but for the foreseeable future it is the New South Wales and Australia A captain who will take the gloves when Gilchrist calls time.
0 Tests, 18 ODIs

Tim Paine
Right-hand Middle Order Batsman, Wicket-keeper


While Haddin will certainly be the man to take the gloves from Adam Gilchrist, it is Tim Paine who is regarded as the long-term wicket-keeping future. He combines a remarkable maturity with his natural talent and is viewed as a captaincy prospect as well. His wicket-keeping is of a high standard, while his batting has seen him selected at first class level as a middle order batsman. Averages 38 at first class level and 36 in domestic one day matches with a century in each form of the game.
Yet to play international cricket

SPIN BOWLERS

Dan Cullen
Right-hand Lower Order Batsman


Shane Warne’s mentor Terry Jenner seems to have produced another champion in this talented young off spinner. He has struggled over the past two seasons to match his incredible debut season where he took 43 wickets at domestic level, stunning everyone with his amazing control and flight, not to mention his take on Muttiah Muralitharan’s controversial doosra. His average has blown out to 42, but with 87 first class wickets to his name he remains a proven wicket-taker. He is still only 22 and should form a productive long-term partnership with South Australian team mate Cullen Bailey. As long as he is given a fair chance to prove himself on the international stage and can steer clear of the pressures of being the successor to Warne, he will have a long and productive test career ahead of him.
1 Test, 5 ODIs

Cullen Bailey
Right-hand Lower Order Batsman, Right-arm Leg Spin Bowler


While Dan Cullen has drawn the accolades over the past few seasons and been lauded as the long-term replacement for Shane Warne, it may be that fellow South Australian Cullen Bailey is the man to bowl Australia into the future. Like Warne and Cullen, Bailey is coached by Terry Jenner and he is regarded by his mentor as a more dangerous proposition, though Jenner’s suggestion is that the future will see the two bowling alongside each other. If Shane Watson is able to realise his potential and become the all-rounder that Australia desperately need, there is no reason why the Bailey/Cullen pairing couldn’t become a regular fixture. At only 21years of age there’s a lot of bowling to come from him and if he can stay clear of injuries he will only improve as he matures. There’s a lot of hype surrounding such a raw talent, but he has shown enough promise to suggest that it’s all warranted.
Yet to play international cricket

Beau Casson
Right-hand Lower Order Batsman, Left-arm Wrist Spin Bowler


Another spinner in the mix is 24-year old left-arm chinaman bowler Beau Casson. The variation that he adds to the attack makes him an attractive prospect, while his ability to turn the ball a long way on almost any pitch suggests that he can be a handful on the international scene. He also possesses good variety, with a well-disguised wrong ’un and a variation on the flipper that he has used to good effect over the past twelve months or so. Another successful graduate of the Cricket Academy, Casson has represented Australia as part of the 2002 World Cup winning Under 19 side. Will probably never be the first choice spinner for the international side, but has a chance to establish himself as the man the selectors turn to when they want to gain an extra edge on a turning pitch.
Yet to play international cricket

PACE BOWLERS

Nathan Bracken
Right-hand Lower Order Batsman, Left-arm Fast Medium Bowler


Since the retirement of Bruce Reid, Australia has searched for a Test quality left arm pace bowler so the early career of tall New South Welshmen Nathan Bracken was surrounded by excited onlookers predicting huge things. With Bracken now 29 years of age, it is fair to say that things haven’t gone exactly as planned. He is a well-established member of the Australian one day side, with 85 wickets from 48 matches at the superb average of 20.40 but has not been able to force his way into the Test side. In all fairness to him, he has never been given a lengthy run in the side to prove he belongs at that level, as it seems that he is called in for a game or two before being forgotten again. In his younger days he seemed to simply try and bowl as fast as he could, while as his career has progressed he has shifted his focus to nagging accuracy and constant changes of pace. With the retirement of McGrath, the selectors may opt for Bracken who has been around the side for quite some time now until the side has stabilised. If he makes the most of his chance then he may find himself a frontliner for the next few years.
5 Tests, 48 ODIs

Shane Harwood
Right-hand Tail End Batsman, Right-arm Fast Bowler


Despite being 32 years of age, Shane Harwood has emerged as a genuine contender for international honours with his nagging accuracy and deceptive pace. The string of batsmen he has struck in domestic cricket lay claim to this ability and, at around 145kph, he can cause problems for batsmen at any level. He appeared for Australia in the recent Twenty20 international against England and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see “Stickers” lining up in the green and gold again.
Yet to play international cricket

Ben Hilfenhaus
Right-hand Tail End Batsman, Right-arm Fast Bowler


After starting the 05/06 season as a part-time cricketer and full-time bricklayer, Ben Hilfenhaus has emerged as the latest Australian fast bowling sensation with his express pace (around 145kph) and the ability to consistently swing the ball away from the right-hander. A genuine swing bowler is something that Australia have long been lacking so it is little surprise then that the selectors have fast-tracked “Hilfy” into the international setup. He made his ODI debut as a replacement for the injured Brett Lee and, with the imminent departure of Glenn McGrath from the one day scene as well, he looks to be at the forefront of the selectors’ plans at present.
0 Tests, 1 ODI

Mitchell Johnson
Right-hand Lower Order Batsman, Left-arm Fast Bowler


Australia went a long time without a decent left arm pace bowler, Brendon Julian excepted, but now have two of the best around. The two couldn’t be more different however. Where Nathan Bracken relies on guile and accuracy for his wickets, Mitchell Johnson is a young tearaway in every sense of the term. Fast, bouncy and hostile, this aggressive left-armer has earned rave reviews since bursting onto the scene with Queensland two years ago. He was spotted by Dennis Lillee as a raw 17-year old at a training camp in Queensland, who branded him a “once in a generation” bowler and immediately arranged for him to be sent to the Cricket Academy. He has largely been selected on potential rather than form as his domestic figures have been solid if unspectacular, but he has impressed as a part of the ODI side with 18 wickets at 23 from his 12 matches. At 25 years of age, he’ll play a major role in Australian cricket over the next several years.
0 Tests, 12 ODIs

Shaun Tait
Right-hand Tail End Batsman, Right-arm Fast Bowler


Where Mitchell Johnson is regarded as a bright prospect due to his express pace and solid technical foundation, Shaun Tait is seen as a future star due to his highly unorthodox action and unconventional approach. Capable of bowling as fast as anyone in world cricket, Tait’s slingshot action has seen him quickly progress through the ranks to the point where he is now right on the fringes of the national side. He mixes hostile bouncers with all but unplayable reverse swinging yorkers in what amounts to an assault on opposing batsmen. Like his fellow youngster Shane Watson his biggest enemy seems to be his own body. His action, while having its benefits, is extraordinarily hard on all the parts of the body which plague fast bowlers the most – back, knees and ankles – while he seems to be one of those players cursed by a propensity towards injuring himself in irregular circumstances. If he stays fit then alongside Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark and Ben Hilfenhaus, Australia may be on the verge of another fast bowling dynasty.
2 Tests, 0 ODIs

REFERENCES

Much thanks to the following websites for the free availability of all the statistics and photos used in this piece.

http://www.baggygreen.com.au

http://www.cricinfo.com

http://www.cricket.com.au



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