Such has been Australia's plight in Tests recently that coach Darren Lehmann went to the extent of warning that none except David Warner, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are guaranteed of a spot in the squad. It means that 9 of the 13 in the squad are on short notice and may be dropped before the day-night Test at Adelaide starting on 24th.
Australia have already lost the series. Worryingly, they have lost their last 5 Tests and last 5 ODIs. Skipper Smith went to the extent of stating in a press conference after the second Test, "I am embarrassed to be sitting here to be perfectly honest with you.”
There is no stopping Australia's free fall. At a time, they were threatening India, England and South Africa for the top ranking in Tests. Now, a draw, let alone a win, looks a bonus with this line-up. The pre-series talk and chirps from the cordon have ended. Shoulders have drooped and a worried Smith could be seen biting his nails during the fag end of the Hobart Test.
There is a lot to worry, so much so that it is confusing where to start with. That Australia need fresh personnel is common opinion and given the form of players like Nathan Lyon, Peter Nevill and Adam Voges, it is a necessity at the moment. They did bring in two debutants for Hobart but neither contributed much to the cause.
There has been talk about the inclusion of some players who have been outstanding in the Sheffield Shield, yet has gone under the selector’s radar. Let us take a glance at 5 contenders who could come into reckoning when the selectors meet to pick the team for Adelaide.
#5 Kurtis Patterson
In 2011, an 18-year-old Patterson became the youngest person to score a century on debut in the Sheffield Shield, when he notched up an unbeaten 157 for New South Wales against Western Australia.
It took him a whole two seasons to figure in New South Wales' plans again. But 2015-16 was a turnaround season for the youngster. He amassed 737 runs in the season, including two hundreds, and was the leading run-scorer for his side and sixth overall.
In 32 first class matches, he has 2171 runs at an average of 42.5. Given Australia's middle order woes, Patterson's current form could be just the medicine their middle order needs. He is just 23 and could become a long-term option in the middle order if given a fair run.