Balancing the Team – An Australian Test Squad with 2 Players from Each State

Cricket Australia announced the 15-man Test squad for the tour of Sri Lanka recently, and one thing people noticed was a lack of Victorians. This moved a writer for a particular Melbourne newspaper to write an upset article about that situation.

Why, he asked, are there eight New South Welshmen in a squad, and no Victorians, despite the fact our state has won the past two Sheffield Shields?

For one, if most of the NSW team wasn’t off playing for Australia, they would almost certainly win the Shield. Secondly, this raises an interesting question: what would an Australian Test team look like if there could only be two players from each state?

To start, here’s the squad for the Sri Lanka tour:

  • New South Wales: JR Hazlewood, MC Henriques, NM Lyon, PM Nevill, SNJ O’Keefe, SPD Smith, MA Starc, DA Warner
  • Queensland: JA Burns, UT Khawaja
  • South Australia: Nil
  • Tasmania: JM Bird
  • Victoria: Nil
  • Western Australia: NM Coulter-Nile, MR Marsh, SE Marsh

Looking at this, we will keep both Queenslanders, the Tasmanian, and two of the West Australians. We’re ditching Shaun Marsh. Our batting order now looks like this:

  • JA Burns
  • tbd
  • UT Khawaja
  • tbd
  • tbd
  • MR Marsh
  • tbd
  • NM Coulter-Nile
  • JM Bird
  • tbd
  • tbd
  • 12th: tbd

New South Wales is a tough one. We can keep only two out of the eight, and there are so many good players. I’ve decided to go with Nathan Lyon as a bowler, as he is one of the best off-spinners ever, in my opinion. The batsman was a dilemma between David Warner and Steve Smith, however, I chose Smith over Warner because he has a better ability at controlling the tempo of the game, and his leadership skills would be good. We now have this line-up:

  • JA Burns
  • tbd
  • UT Khawaja
  • SPD Smith (c)
  • tbd
  • MR Marsh
  • tbd
  • NM Coulter-Nile
  • JM Bird
  • tbd
  • NM Lyon
  • 12th: tbd

You will note that we don’t have a wicketkeeper yet, as we had to eliminate Peter Nevill for Lyon and Smith. This means we need to pick a wicketkeeper from South Australia, Tasmania, or Victoria. We also need a bowler, an opener, a middle-order batsman, and someone else for a twelfth man.

Our second Tasmanian is Ben Dunk, who has a pretty good average batting in the top order, and can also serve as a wicketkeeper. With this, we will push Mitch Marsh a spot down the order, giving us room for another batsman or all-rounder.

Going the New Zealand route of having impossible numbers of wicketkeepers, Peter Handscomb is the first Victorian in the squad, going in as a batsman. The last three members for the squad would all be making their debuts for Australia, which is probably why selectors don’t do this.

Alex Ross of South Australia takes up a spot batting middle order. He averages 30.16 in the Sheffield Shield, which is impressive, considering he only made his debut in February 2015.

Our other South Australian, Daniel Worrall, has our final spot in the main XI. Worrall took 44 wickets in the 2015-16 Shield season, and has a career average of 30.79.

The 12th man is Jon Holland, the Victorian orthodox spinner. Holland is one of Victoria’s best bowlers, but his average and strike rate are less impressive than Worrall’s.

So, our final XII:

  • JA Burns (QLD)
  • BR Dunk (wk) (TAS)
  • UT Khawaja (QLD)
  • SPD Smith (c) (NSW)
  • PSP Handscomb (VIC)
  • AI Ross (SA)
  • MR Marsh (WA)
  • NM Coulter-Nile (WA)
  • JM Bird (TAS)
  • DJ Worrall (SA)
  • NM Lyon (NSW)
  • 12th: JM Holland (VIC)

If you have any thoughts on the squad, I would love to hear them.

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