Now that we have the AFL and the NRL out of the way, now that horse racing is in full swing, there is a sense of anticipation for the summer’s main event, the Ashes.
It is only a few months removed from a time when Australian cricket appeared on the brink of a self-destruct sequence, as the ACA and Cricket Australia were engaged in a standoff over money.
Now, with relative sanity restored and the countdown to the Ashes underway, it is time to move on to the burning issues that need to be addressed before the Aussies take on the Poms in Brisbane.
The Brits have issues of their own, what with the recent incident involving their all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has been stood down for allegedly delivering a roundhouse punch to a former British military man in a late-night altercation in a Bristol pub, but seems like small potatoes for Aussie cricket fans who recently witnessed the demolition of their side by the Indians in ODI play in India.
That lost series was preceded by a drawn series with Bangladesh, so it is obvious that something must be done to restore the winning ways to the Aussies XI, ways that need to go beyond “no way.”
One big question mark is who will fill the no. 6 role. Incumbent Glenn Maxwell seemed to be manning the slot well when he notched a Test century against India, but he has been able to go beyond 50 in his last 11 international outings.
Marcus Stonis is the emerging frontrunner. He had a good outing in the ODI series with India. He rolled 35.5 overs for Oz in the ODI series and if selectors desire a seam-bowling all-rounder, he fits the bill.
Stonis, however, was underwhelming in the Sheffield Shield last season, although some allowance must be made for his frequent trips back to Western Australia due to a medical issue affecting his father.