Australia’s 15-man Champions Trophy squad has everything you want in order to win a major tournament. It has players with the experience of having won an ICC Cricket World Cup, exciting new players, genuine all-rounders, and a pace battery which will send chills down the spine of each one of the seven other batting line-ups in the tournament. On paper, you can definitely say that the five-time world champions are one of the favourites to win the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
Despite announcing a strong team, eyebrows have been raised, and understandably so. He was the man of the final of the last world cup and has been an integral part of Australia’s limited-overs sides since making his debut in February 2012. Yes, the player in question is indeed James Faulkner, who has been left out of Australia’s squad for Champions Trophy 2017.
Now, if we take a statistical look at Faulkner the all-rounder since the Aussies’s triumphant 2015 world cup campaign, what we are able to say is that the Tasmanian has struggled with the bat a little while his output with the ball has been better than his career numbers.
In 17 innings, Faulkner has garnered 174 runs at a batting average of 17.40, which is just half his career batting average (34.06), with his highest score being 36. With the ball, the 26-year-old Tasmanian all-rounder has taken 38 wickets at a bowling average of 28.39, which is better than his career bowling average (30.09). His career-best of 4-32 has also come in the period after the quadrennial event.
Going by the overall statistics, I wouldn’t say that Faulkner has done badly. Yes, his batting form has been on a downward spiral in the last couple of years, and lower down the order, he hasn’t won Australia any matches. So, if the Australian selection panel led by Trevor Hohns felt that James Faulkner has not contributed with the bat and hence does not fulfill their criteria for an ideal No. 7 or 8, then the Tasmanian cannot have much of a complaint. Yet, I think this is a harsh call.
Moving on, seven of the 15 players who have been picked—Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, and Glenn Maxwell—were a part of Australia’s 2015 world cup-winning squad. So, this Australian side is not short of experience and also has the nous of winning titles.
The fresh faces in the side, the likes of Marcus Stoinis, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, and Chris Lynn, will go into the eight-nation tournament with a good aggregate of limited-overs runs in the recent past.
And, needless to say, Australia’s bowling attack boasts two bowlers (Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood) who are in the top 10 of the ICC ODI bowlers’ rankings, and they will be backed up by Cummins and James Pattinson.
You can ask yourself, “What’s the weakness of this Australian squad?”. Not much, is the precise answer for the moment and let us take an in-depth look at the composition of the playing XI on a later date.
Here’s the Faulkner-less Australia Squad for Champions Trophy 2017:
|Batsmen and wicketkeeper||David Warner (vice-captain), Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Steve Smith (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Chris Lynn, and Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper)|
|All-rounders||John Hastings, Moises Henriques and Marcus Stoinis|
|Bowlers||Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, and Adam Zampa|