Cricket: Dropping Your Best Player - Only In South Australia

Last Sunday, the South Australian Redbacks played their first ODD game of the season, after a good bowling performance secured them a win in their first first class (does that even make sense?) hit-out. There's nothing specific of note in that. Except if you look at the team list. Neil Dansie medalist (best player across all formats for SA) from last year, Michael Klinger was absent. He topped the run aggregates for SA in the ODD competition with 469, just short of Lee Carseldine from Queensland as highest in the competition (although Carseldine had an extra game in the final). He is not injured, as he took his place in the Sheffield Shield game earlier in the week. He didn't exactly set the world on fire in that game, scoring 3 and 15 not out but surely you don't drop your best player after one poor innings. Instead, a batting lineup that had keeper and sometimes batsman Graham Manou at number four barely managed 9/249.

Tasmania chased it down with ease, almost getting a bonus point. This is partly because of an inexperienced attack, and partly because Aaron O'Brian is shit. Tasmania's fast men (with the exception of international Ben Hilfenhaus) were comparable to the Redbacks lineup. But the Tigers' spinners took a combined 3/77 off 18. O'Brian (SA's only playing spinner) took 1/49 off 8. This guy is keeping a real spinner (like Cullen Bailey) out of the side with a first class (bowling) average a tad under 50 and an ODD average of over 50. Sure, his batting is okay but by no means is he an allrounder. I mean seriously, Cameron Borgas has a better ODD bowling average (a touch under 50). Surely that says it all.

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