Fortune favours brave selectors
CRICKET: Steve Smith has lauded Australia's selectors for hitting the bullseye in their bold Ashes choices this summer.
The selectors have pulled of a series off adventurous moves including plucking keeper Tim Paine from the Tasmanian wilderness, recalling the Marsh brothers and blooding Cameron Bancroft.
All moves have paid off and the selectors also ensured fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were ready to fire by resting them for the recent one-day series in India.
"A lot of the praise has got to go to the selectors for ensuring the three bowlers were ready for the series but also for the decisions they have made regards the rest of the team,'' Smith said.
"A lot of people came out and said they were very bold selections at the start of the series. "The selectors get criticised quite a lot but they have done a terrific job with this squad. and everyone who has come in has done an exceptional job.
"I thought they were really good selections. Painey has probably been the best keeper in the country for a long period of time. The way he has kept and batted has been exceptional. He has played some very valuable innings at number seven.
"Justin Langer has been saying a while that Shaun Marsh has been in the best form of his life and he has come in and done a terrific job. Just watching him facing our quicks in the nets. You get a fair gauge with how batters are going if they are play the quicks well and he looked comfortable against them.''
Australia has named an unchanged side for the Boxing Day Test and Peter Hanscomb appears certain to miss out with Mitchell Marsh retained.
Now that the series has been decided Australia will be careful not to overburden its fast bowlers in back to back Tests with a South African Test series looming in March so Marsh's seam bowling could be useful.