Over-reliance on Smith and Warner troublesome, feels Michael Slater

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BCCI

Over-reliance on Smith and Warner troublesome, feels Michael Slater

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SportsCafe Desk

09/19/2017

Former Australia opener Michael Slater has claimed that the Australian Test team is overly dependent on Steve Smith and David Warner and the amount of runs coming from the middle order is troubling for the Aussies. Slater also added that the selectors must stick to Glenn Maxwell for better results.

The Aussies have been heavily reliant on Steve Smith and David Warner in the last couple of years, and this is likely to continue in the Ashes as well. Steve Smith is the top-ranked batsman in the world while Warner can take the game away from the opposition in one session. Though the latter's form has dipped in the 2016-17 season, his record at home has been excellent with 59.21 average in 33 Tests. 

"I'm worried about our side - it still relies on Warner, Smith," Slater told Channel Nine. 

"(Peter) Handscomb is at five, (Glenn) Maxwell's got to shine. There's a lot of interest there. (Matthew) Wade as 'keeper, he's got to start scoring runs." 

Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw, being in their first year of international cricket, have done quite well but still are not dominating enough to trouble their opponents. Glenn Maxwell has not been doing justice to the opportunities he has got, whereas Matthew Wade is not consistent enough, having scored 263 runs at an average of 20.23 in last 10 Tests, since January 2015.

Off late, Maxwell has been getting chances in the subcontinent as his off-breaks serve as an added advantage when Australia tour the subcontinent but except for a century against India in Ranchi, he does not have much to offer on the Test circuit. It is not likely that Maxwell will be holding on to his spot in the side after the team returns to Australia, but Slater believes that the national selectors must give the Victorian allrounder a chance to get the preferred result.

"They've got to stick with (Maxwell) because it takes some time," Slater said. 

"Not every player comes in and performs the first Test. He's played a handful (of Tests) now, (the selectors) have got to go with him and certainly for the first Test in the Ashes."

Handscomb has an average of 53.07 since his debut along with Renshaw in the day-night Test at Adelaide last year, but Slater feels that there are far too many good cricketers waiting in line for the duo to be self-satisfied.

"The moment you start feeling comfortable and safe in your spot is when your performances start to decline. You get into that comfortable headspace and you're not really pushing yourself," Handscomb told cricket.com.au. 

"The beauty about Australian cricket is that it is so strong and there are 10, 15, 20 batters waiting in the wings for anyone to make a mistake in the Australian team and take their spot. I feel happy with what I've been doing and I feel like I belong in the team at the moment but it's a fickle game and can change pretty quickly."

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