Ian Chappell has described some of Australia’s selection moves in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy against India as ‘head-scratching’. The Aussie legend said that, in the wake of the same, he’s not surprised to see Australia’s struggles in India.
The visitors are 2-0 down in the four-match Test series. They lost the first game in Nagpur by an innings and 132 runs and the second in Delhi by six wickets. Both games ended inside three days. The third Test of the series begins in Indore on March 1.
Sharing his thoughts on Australia’s underwhelming performance in the first two Tests, Chappell questioned many decisions made by the selectors. He told ABC Sport:
“The mess they have got themselves in isn’t surprising, although some of the selections have been head-scratching, to say the least.”
Expressing surprise over the move to drop in-form batter Travis Head for the first Test, the former captain said:
“You just don’t drop some guy who has been one of your top scorers in Australia. You find out if he can play in India.”
The legend also questioned the decision to pick Matthew Renshaw as a middle-order despite his failures in India during their previous tour. Renshaw opened with David Warner during Australia’s tour of India in 2017 but had a mixed time. Chappell added:
“Batting in the middle order – when you virtually come in to face spin bowling straight away – is a hell of a lot harder than if you can get a few runs on the board facing the quicks and then you’re facing the spinners.”
Renshaw was dismissed for 0 and 2 in Nagpur. He came in as a concussion substitute for Warner in the second innings in Delhi but was dismissed for a single-figure score again.
“He’s not bowling to the best batsmen in Australia” – Chappell on Matt Kuhnemann’s selection
Speaking about the bowlers, Chappell also raised questions over the decision to fly left-arm spinner Matt Kuhnemann to India and pick him for the Delhi Test. Kuhnemann was called up to the Australian squad after Mitch Swepson briefly returned home for the birth of his first child.
Surprisingly, Kuhnemann was picked ahead of Ashton Agar, who was already in the squad but has since returned to Australia. Discussing the surprising move, Chappell opined:
“He’s not bowling to the best batsmen in Australia. So, if his Shield record is quite good, you’ve got to remember he is not bowling to the best players. So, how do you decide that Kuhnemann is ready for India because he is bowling really well (in Sheffield Shield)?
“Now, a good selector – and I’m not sure we have got any of those at the moment – can see some things that tell him, ‘I think this guy is ready’, and you might take a punt, But in general, it’s not a good system for either the players or the selectors to decide who is ready for Test cricket.”
The 26-year-old Kuhnemann claimed 2-72 in the first innings in Delhi and 0-38 in the second.