What a Paine in the Marsh

November 21, 2017

Steve Smith and Trevor Hohns announce the Test squad on Friday which has riled Tyler Maher to no end.

Our man Tyler Maher is seething after the national selectors decided to give Shaun Marsh his umpteenth chance in the Test arena.

Tyler Maher is not in glove with Tim Paine's selection as Australia's keeper.

To: Trevor Hohns and the National Selection Panel.

CC: Steve Smith.

Subject: We need to talk.

A seething rage burns inside me.

How did it come to this?

I know we lost a Test to Bangladesh for the first time ever this year, but this summer was going to be different.

It was going to be a summer of fun and love and grinding the Old Enemy into the scalding dirt of our great brown land.

There would be tales of heroics from fan favourites and the excitement of watching a new breed pave their own way at the international level.

Now, thanks to you, it has already become a summer of stress, pain and heartache.

I, like many cricket lovers across the country I’m sure, could not concentrate on my daily duties on Friday, such was the frustration the first and second team squads announced last week provided.

To give Shaun Marsh an eighth recall into a Test arena where he averages an underwhelming 36 with the bat is simply astounding.

He has time and again shown he is not able to cut the mustard at Test level and at almost 35 should have been put out to pasture long ago.

But it is not just because you have brought him back in — it is who you have left out which pains me the most.

Glenn Maxwell returned to Australian shores only a couple of months ago as a Test incumbent with a century just four matches previously.

He also, in a batting line-up bereft of genuine back-up bowling stocks, can classify himself as an all-rounder.

Two hundred Sheffield Shield runs followed at an average of 40 (more than Marsh) and things were looking up for the ‘‘Big Show’’.

And then you dropped him for a player whose chance has come and gone and come again.

What of the plight of Matt Renshaw?

His last time at the batting crease for his country in Australia was in January and it yielded him a mammoth 184 runs.

Yes, his subcontinent form was less-than-desirable (passing 40 just four times in 12 innings), but the tortoise was ready to emerge from his shell as the nation’s rock at the top of the order.

And then you dropped him.

Matthew Wade’s term with the gloves was certainly over.

But to replace him with a man in Tim Paine whose one and only first-class century came before his current coach — and does not keep wicket for his state — is again another selection that has seen head-scratching all across the country.

While picking Cameron Bancroft, a man who has literally smashed the selection door to pieces and fashioned the shards of wood into a throwing spear, is the right choice, it is akin to a stranded seafarer choosing a passing freightliner over his own hand-made raft as a method to find safe passage home.

Paine can be justified as the best out of a poor bunch when it comes to keepers in form.

Renshaw was clearly the wrong decision, but he will come back to the national team stronger for it.

But I can not stand for Marsh returning again.

It just isn’t working any more — our tenuous-at-best relationship needs to end.

I would like to say I hate doing it this way, via the clinical coldness of a group email, but you have driven me to the edge of the cliff and not given me enough time to contemplate the fall before pushing me off.

I’ll give you a few days to pack your things, but I expect you to vacate the house by the weekend.

Don’t let the door hit you on the backside on your way out.

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