The most despised group of gentlemen in the land, the Australian selectors, will soon announce the 15 men that will be given the task of retaining what is arguably the most prestigious prize in cricket, the 50 over World Cup.
Surely, everyone that visits 99.94 regularly is cognisant of Australia’s magnificent recent history in regards to the tournament, and also aware of the pressure that the squad will be under to continue the nation’s unprecedented success.
Before naming what I consider to be the best squad for Australia’s tilt at a fifth consecutive final let’s look back on the evolution of the team from 1996 onwards so we can compare the current crop against their forever famous forebears.
Mark Taylor (c), Michael Bevan, Damien Fleming, Ian Healy, Stuart Law, Shane Lee, Craig McDermott, Glenn McGrath, Ricky Ponting, Paul Reiffel, Michael Slater, Shane Warne, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh.
Steve Waugh (c), Michael Bevan, Adam Dale, Damien Fleming, Brendan Julian, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Lee, Darren Lehmann, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Tom Moody, Ricky Ponting, Paul Reiffel, Shane Warne, Mark Waugh.
Ricky Ponting (c), Michael Bevan, Andy Bichel, Nathan Bracken, Adam Gilchrist, Jason Gillespie, Ian Harvey, Nathan Hauritz, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Darren Lehmann, Jimmy Maher, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson
Ricky Ponting (c), Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Adam Gilchrist, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn McGrath, Andrew Symonds, Shaun Tait, Shane Watson
When you look at those squads it is difficult to imagine Australia’s current crop measuring up but it should be remembered that each of these successful World Cup squads had problems and doubts before the tournaments began.
I’ll allow the good readers of 99.94 to debate which is the best of them below the line and instead present what I believe to be the best combination to continue Australia’s dominance at the World Cup.
Ricky Ponting (c), Dan Christian, Michael Clarke, Xavier Doherty, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Dirk Nannes, Tim Paine, Shaun Tait, Shane Watson, Cameron White.
Choosing only 15 players is a difficult task and for once the selectors have my sympathy. I expect their squad will differ from mine, as will many of our readers’ preferred selections, and you are all encouraged to criticise, question and speculate in the comments section.