‘Lost generation’ hurting Australian cricket
The Ashes is looming as a huge opportunity for a couple of names that are currently written in pencil to be instead written in pen.
Australian cricket greats Mark Taylor and Ian Chappell say the future of the national men's team's batting order - aside from David Warner, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne - looks murky.
"You don't have to be Einstein to work out that we've got our runs from Warner, we've got our runs from Labuschagne, and we've got our runs from Smith - and they're our sort of bankers at the moment," Taylor said on Wide World of Sport's Outside the Rope.
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"We're not going to stop looking to those three guys, but we've got to start looking to the next generation."
With only three nailed-down spots in the top six, two of whom are 35 and 32 in Warner and Smith, concerns remain over the long-term batting prospects coming through the first-class system currently.
Taylor says Travis Head has a marvelous chance to nail his place in the side down, after he won his race with Usman Khawaja for the No.5 spot.
"If he has a good series here, he cements the No.5 spot, maybe even higher up, for years to come," he said.
Chappell said usually you'd have a young gun or two to come into a ready-made team to learn the craft down the order before coming into their prime.
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"Looking at the Australian side they just don't seem to have that at the moment, and if I was (chief selector) George Bailey, I'd be a little concerned about what's lying ahead," Chappell said.
"You look at those stats (in recent Sheffield Shield seasons) and you're looking at the same names. You're looking at Khawaja, you're looking at Head.
"You're not seeing new guys coming through, guys like (Kurtis) Patterson, they've fallen by the wayside. It's almost like we've got a lost generation."
Chappell said Cameron Green will be around for the long haul, but other spots remain up in the air.
"I think Cameron Green will make it as a No.6, it may take a little while," Ian Chappell said.
"But to me, Head or Khawaja, both of them are a real gamble and I think you could have just tossed a coin in the air and however it came down, that's the way you go as a selector."
"That's the big concern for Australia - if you're looking ahead."
Taylor said that it shouldn't be down to Will Pucovski to carry the torch for future Test hopefuls.
"We need more than one Pucovski - we should have three or four guys, at least one, maybe two, from the biggest states in each Shield side, that are belting the door down.
"At the moment we don't have that."
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