Thursday, 12 May 2011

Are these players Test Class?

As a series of Tests are about to start in every side there is one or two players that the fans know have talent and have even been in awe of their abilities on the occasions they have performed.Though sadly despite all this these players make you pull your hair out for they always tantalise and tease rather than being known for consistency
So can these maybe men become the players their Teams need?

The Aussies after years of dominating have suddenly been challenged and slated.So they are forced with the prospect of having ageing veterans,young players who aren't up to it and players in the Team that are constant disappointments.They need quality in all departments,but here are two players that are a constant cause of consternation

Phil Hughes
This precociously talented opening batsman when he burst onto the scene by scoring twin hundreds in South Africa against an attack containing Steyn,Morkel,Ntini and Kallis.It wasn't just the runs he scored but how he scored them that had the Aussie fans drooling.The sensationalist Press labelled him as 'The Next Bradman' such was his fanfare and belief in him being the real deal....
Though sadly for Hughes everything after his exceptional debut series in South Africa has been downhill with his next series in England in the Ashes seeing him being exposed to having a weakness outside off.Which was duly exploited with him struggling and dropped.Then after he has been in an out of the Team and in the current Ashes series where he played 3 Tests he again struggled mightily with the same weakness being exposed.
Test Future-Yes-In time
Hughes is the man that Australia so need,but at present isn't Test class because of his looseness outside off.Though this is more a failure of the Coaches in Cricket Australia who have failed to address his weakness.The fact that he is young at 22 and in his junior career known for his determination and work ethic.If Cricket Australia get the right Coach that addresses his issues he should be a long term player for Australia.In the interim he should spend time in first class cricket honing his technique till it's adequate for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson
This guy when he performed in South Africa with both bat and ball showed himself to be the most devastating player in the game.Though since he has done his best to emulate Steve Harmison from England in regards to being such a tease with both bat and ball.His bowling which is most coveted by the Aussies is very one dimensional with him rarely if ever swinging or seaming it.He just relies on the natural angle that he gets as a left armer.So he was rendered impotent by the English tactics of just letting him go in the knowledge of his inability to swing it in.Then picking off his bad ball which are often for he is erratic.
Test Future-No-Too many chances
In his career he has shown an inability to improve his technique in regards to swinging the ball so is very one dimensional and has been worked out.So time for Australia to stop reminiscing of his devastation in South Africa and live in the now and discard him

Upcoming Youth-Nic Maddison (opening batsman),Josh Hazelwood (fast bowler),Shaun Marsh (batsmen),James Faulkner (bowling allrounder),Luke Butterworth (bowling all rounder)

The Indian's are on Cloud 9 after their World Cup win and continued excellence in Tests.Though their side is desperately in need of some quality in the bowling ranks.Then there is a place in their batting line up in question.Here are two who could fill these needs

Ishant Sharma
In 08/9 series against Australia in India he was the answer to every Indian's prayers.A fast bowler who got it into the 140's with swing,seam and menace.Though after this his promise turned into a false dawn with him disappointing more often than not.To the point where he went through a period where he lost his pace,swing.seam and basically everything and was just a gift to batsmen.
Test Future-Yes-Just needs guidance in the mental side of the game
His age is with him being only 22.Though it seems apparent that he has great skill,but suffers with the mental demands of the game.A good idea would to have a past player or Coach closely mentor him.Plus he needs to be properly managed so as to not play too much cricket and burn out.He showed glimpses of late of a return to form,but the tour to England where conditions will be to his liking will be a huge judgement on his future in Team India

Yuvraj Singh
In the wake of the World Cup win and his huge role in the victory there will be huge pressure to include Yuvraj in the Test side.For as he has done on occasion if he can replicate his devastating batting in Test as he does in Odi's then his benefit to India is huge.Plus his useful spin could be a factor too.
Test Future-No-Hasn't the technique/temperament for Tests
Though he is one of the most devastating players in the shorter forms of the game he hasn't the technique to last in Tests.Especially in conditions away from India.Plus he hasn't the mental toughness either as shown to how offended he was to the 'waterboy' taunts in Sri Lanka last year.

Upcoming Youth-Varun Aaron (fast bowler),Virat Kohli (batsman),Cheteshwar Pujara (batsman),Amit Mishra (leg spinner),Ravi Ashwin (off spinner)

The men in green have been cut to their bones through losing the stars in their line up in Mohammud Asif and Mohammud Aamer.Also they have a batting line up in transition with more young players inserted.Though the key question with Pakistan is never ability,but more so temperament.For which they struggle with mightily in the longer form of the game.Here are two who could have a marked effect on their side

Wahab Riaz
The loss of Mohammud Asif and Mohammud Aamer has basically ripped the heart out of Pakistan's bowling.In Wahab Riaz we always knew he was a strong big hearted performer as seen in the Pakistan A Tour in Australia a few years back.He had pace and could swing it with the benefit of being a left hander.In his 5 Tests he has shown potential to be a factor and then other times where he's been erratic and been flayed
Test Future-Yes
His ability to swing the ball coupled with his pace means that more than likely he will be a very fine bowler in Tests for Pakistan

Umar Akmal
This young batsmen has all the talent under the sun as seen in New Zealand where he more often than not flayed the Kiwi bowlers all over the park.Though after he struggled in Australia then in England showed a disturbing lack of mental aptitude and heart
Test Future-Yes-In time if he tightens up and mentally matures
Akmal is a difficult one for he has such talent,but is so mentally weak.In Tests talent only gets you so far and the rest is mental.So on this basis its hard to have faith in him being a long term Test player.Though on his side is he is only 20 and mental toughness might come with more maturity.So based on this we have to err on the side of believing in him

Upcoming Youth-Babar Azam (batsman),Raza Hasan (spinner) Anwar Ali (fast bowler)Umar Amin (batsman)Hammad Azam (allrounder)

South Africa:
South Africa is always a Team that has threatened to dominate Test cricket,but always falls a bit short.Though they are not that far away with most aspects of the game covered with excellent options.These two could take them to the top of the Test tree

We saw him in Australia in 08 be a good imitation of Brian Lara with how he played.He had everyone abuzz with thoughts of what he could be and then he is also a more than useful part time spinner.Though since he was found out by spin and had questions of mental frailty put on him.Duly being discarded from the South African Team
Test Future-No
It's very difficult judging Duminy with just how good he looked in Australia.Though since he has struggled and his inability to play against off spin is very difficult to overcome.Plus queries on his mental side makes him a player that might struggle with Tests in the future

Imran Tahir
This leg spinner has been in more places across the Globe than most of the 17th Century explorers.Though at 32 has yet to play Test cricket which poses the automatic question as to why?His first class record is very impressive and the fact that he is a leg spinner makes this even more puzzling.Then you see he spent a lot of his career in Pakistan and start to understand in part why....
Test Future-Yes-Few outside Asia are good against spin
He looks like the South African version of Australia's Colin 'Funky' Miller and like Miller I expect him to be just as successful.Especially in a South African side with the pressure exerted through their bowling might.

Upcoming Youth-Rilee Roussouw (batsman),Wayne Parnell (fast bowler)

Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan's had a Team to challenge the very best when they had Lasith Malinga playing.Though his retirement from Tests has left them short of quality in bowling to be a factor in the longer form of the game.Though these two could still make them a dangerous Team

Angelo Mathews
This young Sri Lankan is lauded for his potential both as an all rounder and a leader.Though up until now he has been adequate with bat in Tests,but struggled mightily with the ball.In Tests so far he has yet to have a break through performance to back up all the hype about him.
Test Future-Yes
Mathews is only 23 and every time you see him you feel he has a presence.So it's only a matter of that he starts to be a huge factor in Test cricket with both bat and ball.Then ultimately as a leader

Ajantha Mendis
The call around the cricket World is that the 'Mendis Mystery' has been solved.....
I don't share that view for id agree that the Indian's have solved him,but the fact that the Kings of spin the Indian's struggled against him initially shows his potential.For Indian's as a rule maul any spinner.
Test Future-Yes
The fact of Mendis is in his 15 Test career he has played only 4 against non Asian opposition.So that automatically makes it hard when your a spinner.I still think he has a role to play in Test cricket for the non Asian players won't find playing him particularly easy.Especially in Sri Lankan condirions as we saw with the West Indian struggles against him recently

Upcoming Youth-Dinesh Chandimal (batsman/keeper),Suranga Lakmal (fast bowler),Suraj Randiv (spinner),

West Indies
The Windies has been beset by players being lost to the IPL and general incompetence from their Board.So been hard to have a competitive Team be assembled in these circumstances.Though still amongst the gloom there are promising players

Devendra Bishoo
This young leg spinner was a revolution in the World Cup and then recently in the 5 Odi series against Pakistan.It made you automatically think can he be a factor on the Test scene as well
Test Future-Yes
I think Bishoo will turn out to be a very fine Test bowler for the West Indies.He is a lovely traditional leg spin bowling with his main intention being to get wickets.Plus along with his leg spinners bag of tricks he has the accuracy that is so crucial with being a factor with his difficult craft.For many leg spinners often let the pressure off in overs with loose balls.Bishoo isn't one of these.

Lendl Simmons
This young attacking batsman had one visit to Test cricket a few years back but was found to be wanting technically.Though on his return to the International arena in the recent Odi series against Pakistan he showed he has worked hard on his game and dominated.
Test Future-Borderline-but yes on his work effort and willingness to improve
I still have doubts about his technique and temperament in the Test arena with him being flashy and flash doesn't last long in real cricket.Though with the obvious work he has put into his game and the confidence he is showing he deserves a chance to see if he is up to it.Plus he is a determined lad and you can never underplay that in sport

Upcoming Youth-Kraig Braithwaithe (batsman),Darren Bravo (batsman),Jason Holder (fast bowler)

The English are still celebrating their mauling of the Aussies in the Ashes.Though the questions we all ask after seeing that is are they that good or made to look good by a very weak Australian side?These two players could help strengthen their Team

Ravi Bopara
The man who is touted to be the favourite to take Paul Collingwood's place at number 6.Who in his previous visit to Test cricket a few years ago struggled with the demands.In a sense he is a similar player to what Paul Collingwood represented for England at 6.A batsman that can bowl useful medium pace,but unlike Collingwood lacks his renowned grit.Also suspect against swing bowling.Which is never good when you are an English player!
Test Future-No
There are many in England more suited to the number 6 spot than Bopara.

Stuart Broad
The pin up boy of English cricket with ability in spades in regards to both bowling and batting.Given a huge recommendation with his appointment as T20 Captain.Though can see the boys ability aren't sold on his mental aptitude.He seems to be a churlish little boy in a mans body and to me that my stifle him from turning potential into consistent performance
Test Future-Yes but needs a KP type shake up
The boy has got most things given to him to easily so I would favour him being dropped for the Sri Lankan Tests.This to show that he is not irreplacable and needs to grow up.For with his ability and maturity added he has the potential to be one of the best players in World cricket

Upcoming Youth-James Taylor (batsman),James Hildreth (batsman,Chris Woakes (all rounder),Danny Briggs (spinner),Jade Dernbach (fast bowler)

New Zealand

Tim Southee
Ive watched this lad since he was 17 and even then from a technically point of view.He is such a beautiful natural swing bowler.That has struggle with the expectations,but as seen in the World Cup is slowly starting to mature.Also a very decent lower order batsman
Test Future-Definitely!
I can see him being the next great Kiwi bowler and good enough with the bat to get a few hundreds

Ross Taylor
This lad has all the ability in the World to be a very fine Test player,but then just lacks the temperament.Hopefully with the leadership bestowed on him in 2010 in Odi's it will make him be more mature.
Test Future-Yes but will never be what he could be
On his ability should be one of the very best but hasn't the mental aptitude to make this a reality.So will be on occasion a great player,but more often than not just serviceable bordering on frustrating

Upcoming Youth-Kane Williamson (batsman),Hamish Bennett (fast bowler)

The Tigers are symbolic by their youth in the Test arena.In terms of having talent,but very little temperament.Though these youngsters might make a difference

Jahurul Islam
I saw him in England in his debut series and he looked like a player that paid homage to the technical side of the game.Plus it seemed that he had a nice temperament.
Test Future-Yes in time
Though initially he hasn't got the runs on the board.He shows that he has what is needed in Tests cricket in term of technique,temperament and grit

Shafiul Islam
This slippery fast bowler in the World Cup showed that he has the ability to lead the attack.Showing he has skill to swing and seam the ball at decent pace
Test Future-Yes
Shafiul should be the long term leader for Bangladesh's young attack and can mature into a very decent bowler

Upcoming Youth-Noor Hossain (leg spinner),Suhrawadi Shuvo (spinner)

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