Australian cricket’s farcical selection criteria laid bare after David Warner retirement

Wherever you’ve stood in the debate over David Warner’s replacement, most agreed that opening the batting for Australia remained a specialist role and we weren’t wrong.

Apparently it’s now so ‘specialist’ you need either 30+ Test tons to get the gig, or at the very least, be bored with braining Test cricket.

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While Australia’s 14 man squad for the Windies series does include Matt Renshaw, all whispers point to Warner’s vacant post being filled with an internal promotion up the order for the almighty Steve Smith.

No doubt, Smith facing the new ball is hardly a prospect as risky as Warwick Todd or Rob Quiney.

But picking a makeshift opener over someone certified ensures the post-Warner era begins with more questions than answers.

And whether due to a lack of faith in Generation Next or because they were sick of searching for stuff after a week looking for his hat, the selectors decision to explore no further than the changeroom for Warner’s heir has already caused angst in the ranks.

Where does it leave guys like Renshaw, Marcus Harris, Cameron Bancroft, and every other aspiring opening batsman in the country who doesn’t have 9514 Test runs and a mattress deal?

And more importantly, what does it mean for the nation’s premier domestic competition for Test selection, the Big Bash League?

Take nothing away from Smith – a man who could save us batting with a pigeon bone – but his snap elevation is a farce that signals one terrible thing:

No longer can our openers earn a Baggy Green with good old fashioned methods, like a decade of toil in Sheffield Shield or three arsey fifties for the Strikers.

Yep, ability, experience and runs are now worthless in this country unless you’re a generational freak, meaning every kid bravely fronting up to the new ball this weekend should give up and take the billions on offer in T20 or OnlyFans.

Sure, nobody’s claiming Harris, Renshaw and Bancroft are Hussey-esque understudies, however you could argue all have done enough to earn another audition.

Bancroft has domineered opposition attacks for WA for two years, Harris has a recent hundred against a touring Pakistan side, and Renshaw hasn’t sparked any more culture wars since leaving the field in Pune to use the toilet in 2017.

And with gratis runs on offer against a novice Windies attack, now was the perfect time to do the right thing and blood one against a lesser rival before heartlessly feeding him to India next summer.

But sadly none meet the brief of being in their mid-30’s and across the dining table from George Bailey.

Admittedly, opting for Smith – especially when bored by the middle order and hungry for runs – is a pretty safe bet for Australia in the short term.

Not only is he purpose-built for the new ball with a cod-eye, an airtight technique and an average that increases the higher he elevates up the order (57.18 when batting at 5, 61.51 at 4 and 67.08 at 3), his selection also upholds the modern tenet of Aussie cricket: to do whatever it takes to get Cameron Green in the team.

Yes, the veteran’s elevation guarantees a long-awaited recall for the lanky unicorn Green, a move that satiates a selection panel desperate to embed him in the team like an arm-hair inside a keyboard.

But at what cost?

A generation rendered wasted, confused and in dire need of counselling or a few sessions wicketkeeping.

– Dane Eldridge is a warped cynic yearning for the glory days of rugby league, a time when the sponges were magic and the Mondays were mad. He’s never strapped on a boot in his life, and as such, should be taken with a grain of salt.

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