Plenty has happened with our Aussie cricketers since my last update in early May.
There have been disappointing international matches, County Championship games and even a Twenty20 league in Canada.
Let’s start with the national side stuff:
England v Australia ODI Series
Hopefully you slept through this series. England smashed Australia 5-0 and at Nottingham recorded the highest ever ODI total, piling on 6/481.
Shaun Marsh was by far the best performing player, scoring 288 runs at an average of 57 with two centuries. Travis Head (194 runs) and Aaron Finch (161 runs) were the next best Aussies, but Glenn Maxwell, D’Arcy Short, Ashton Agar and particularly Tim Paine and Marcus Stoinis had tough times with the bat.
There wasn’t much to write home about regarding the bowling. Billy Stanlake, Kane Richardson and Agar were good in patches, but Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser found English batsmen hard to curtail.
On the plus side, Neser and Short got their Australian debuts and Jhye Richardson and Alex Carey got to add to their solitary ODI matches from last summer.
T20 Tri-Series in Zimbabwe
After the first two matches, it looked like Australia would cruise to victory in this tournament against Zimbabwe and Pakistan. However, Pakistan and in-form opener Fakhar Zaman hit form at the right time and smacked the Aussies in the final.
Captain Finch was in imperious touch with the bat and smoked 306 runs in the five matches, including a world-record 172 against Zimbabwe. Short looked good as Finch’s opening partner, hitting 165 runs (from four games) but rarely finding the timing he would’ve liked (115 strike rate). Head, Carey and Maxwell all made valuable contributions at certain stages, but the openers did most of the batting.
Tye was prolific with the ball, especially at the end of the innings, picking up 12 wickets in five games, and Stanlake was superb with vicious pace. But the performance of Jhye Richardson will delight Justin Langer and the staff the most, as he captured seven wickets and was very reliable, for the most part.
Finding consistent output from the fourth and fifth bowlers proved more difficult however. Agar and Maxwell had good moments but not regularly enough, and Stoinis, Short and Jack Wildermuth were tried without much success.
English County Championship
Peter Siddle – Essex (Div 1)
The Victorian started the English summer in fine form, collecting 20 wickets at 16.10 from the first four games.
He then set off to Canada to play some Twenty20 (more on this below), where he had plenty of success.
Siddle will return to Essex for the final three Championship games, which will hopefully allow him to take some good form into the Sheffield Shield.
Joe Mennie – Lancashire (Div 1)
Mennie was killing it with bat (205 runs at 41) and ball (24 wickets at 21.5) until on June 21 he was hit in the head by a powerful Martin Guptill shot. He made history by being the first player substituted out of a Championship match due to the new concussion ruling.
He has since been given the all-clear to return and has done so in some of Lancashire’s Twenty20 matches, but was frustratingly left out of Lanc’s most recent Championship match.
Matt Renshaw – Somerset (Div 1)
Renshaw was an instant success for Somerset, hitting three centuries and averaging more than 50 from his first six matches. However, a broken finger has cut his stint with Somerset short, but he will be right to go for the ‘A’ tour to India in August. More on this below.
Travis Head – Worcestershire (Div 1)
The South Aussie is yet to hit his straps for Worcestershire, knocking up only two 50+ scores in his first five matches.
He then joined the Australian squad for the ODIs against England and the trip to Zimbabwe where his performances were touched on above.
Now, he’s back with his county, where he’s been asked to open the batting on his return. Currently, he’s on 36* against Somerset at stumps. Go big, Trav!
Shaun Marsh – Glamorgan (Div 2)
Marsh’s start for Glamorgan was typical Shaun: one hundred, one fifty, two ducks and an average of 29 from his four matches. He then jumped into the ODI squad, where he hit two hundreds against England, but another shoulder injury has rule him out for the season. While he was gone, he was replaced by…
Usman Khawaja – Glamorgan (Div 2)
Glamorgan management wouldn’t have missed Marsh much at all as his replacement, Khawaja, immediately reeled off big scores. From four matches, Khawaja has hit three tons and is averaging 50+ from four matches. He will join the ‘A’ tour to India in August however, with Joe Burns coming in as his replacement.
Hilton Cartwright – Middlesex (Div 2)
Generally batting deep in the middle order, Cartwright has really struggled with the bat, scoring only 204 runs at an average of 17 (seven matches). However, he was crucial in Middlesex’s one-wicket win over Leicestershire, producing a season best 80 in the fourth innings.
His bowling too has shown signs of improvement, capturing 19 wickets at an impressive average of 21.6.
Daniel Worrall – Gloucestershire (Div 2)
After starting the season with promise (16 wickets at 21.8 from four matches), Worrall injured his foot badly in late May and won’t play for Gloucestershire again this year. It’s still unclear if he’ll be fit for South Australia’s first match in September.
Aaron Finch – Surrey (Div 1)
After his blistering Twenty20 form for his country, Finch unsurprisingly did more of the same for Surrey, belting 58, 131* and 83 in three T20 games. And, because Surrey don’t have an overseas player, he played the south London side’s most recent County match against Nottinghamshire.
Surrey won by an innings, but Finch was dismissed by Stuart Broad for two runs in his only innings.
Canadian T20 League
Peter Siddle (Montreal Tigers)
Siddle’s stint in Canada was quite fruitful for the Victorian, his 11 wickets made him the fourth highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
Steve Smith (Toronto Nationals)
Smith’s return was modest, by his lofty standards. 167 runs at a strike rate of 119 wasn’t a terrible result, but wasn’t what we’re used to either.
David Warner (Winnipeg Hawks)
Only 109 runs from eight hits for Warner, which included a highest score of 55. His strike rate was down too, at only 115 across all his hits.
Ben McDermott (Winnipeg Hawks)
McDermott was the best performing Aussie at the tournament, with the fourth-most runs in the competition (224) and a strike rate of 130.
Moises Henriques (Montreal Tigers)
Henriques was ultra-consistent for the Tigers and was the competition’s fifth-highest run scorer. Batting at either No.3 or No.4, he scored between 23 and 50 in all of his six innings.
Ben Dunk (Vancouver Knights)
Dunk only played four matches, the final four matches for the victorious Vancouver. He produced 66 runs in four innings, so certainly not earth-shattering results.
Fawad Ahmed (Vancouver Knights)
What else should we expect from Ahmed? His 14 wickets was the second-best in the entire tournament, and his side lifted the trophy after his 3-24 in the final. He’s just so durable and consistently effective. Oh, and he was the bowler for Gayle’s ludicrous catch.
Australia A has 50-over matches against South Africa A and India A in Vijayawada, India, from August 17. Two matches against both before a final held on August 29.
Then, the ‘A’s will play two four-day matches against India A in Vizag, India on September 2 and September 8.
Australia A one-day squad: Travis Head (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain, Jack Wildermuth
Australia A four-day squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain.