The still-smouldering Joe Burns question

Joe Burns’ celebrates his maiden Test century in Brisbane last week. But why was he ever out of the squad? Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: The end of the lost Ashes series in July was always going to bring with it selection angst for some players, and indeed, the Australian selectors.

Largely, retirements negated the need for tough calls. Chris Rogers, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin would surely have had trouble featuring in any ongoing future plans had they not retired, while Ryan Harris’ knee made that decision for him before the previously unthinkable was contemplated. Michael Clarke pulling the pin as he did came as something of a surprise, perhaps, while the rapid vacation of so many senior players has probably extended Adam Voges’ career for now.

Joe Burns won a recall for the First Test in Brisbane last week, and the stylish Queenslander repaid that faith in spades. His first innings 71 was backed up with his maiden Test century in the second innings, and his spectacular start to the summer has left me with one fairly big, nagging question

Cheap Seats Episode 58: The Cheapies!

Ryan O’Connell and I have rolled out the red carpet in a glitzy star-studded event as part of Episode 58 of the Cheap Seats podcast.

In this episode, Ryan and I have quite the unresolved debate about where a debutant batsman should bat, and BOTH of us are surprised by the news Ed Cowan hasn’t been batting first drop for Tasmania.

Episode 58 talking points:

  • Asking who has the worst Auckland Nines jersey is like asking which is the worst STD to contract. Image: NRL.com

    Asking who has the worst Auckland Nines jersey is like asking which is the worst STD to contract. Image: NRL.com

    a bumper final edition of #AskTheCheapSeats, with Wallabies departures, shocking NRL jerseys, selection conjecture, and an NBA question that I left the room for;

  • The Cheapies! The boys hand out the gongs that matter, and several others that don’t for the sporting year of 2014;
  • Second Test wrap: a comprehensive review of Australia’s win inside four days at the ‘Gabba, including Josh Hazlewood’s impressive debut, the stupidity of firing up Mitch Johnson, and several blokes now under the pump. Plus Queensland top order bat Joe Burns will debut on Boxing Day in Melbourne – but where will he bat?

Thanks so much to everyone who tuned into the Cheap Seats all year. We’ll be back in January with more misinformed analysis and pointless debate from the world of sport.

In the meantime, get us on Twitter at @CheapSeatsPod and get your questions in using the tag #AskTheCheapSeats.

Merry Christmas, a very happy and safe New Year, and stay cheap!

Second Test wrap: what we learned in Brisbane

Indian Captain MS Dhoni - might need to check the tape. Image via cricket.com.au

Indian Captain MS Dhoni – might want to check the tape. Image via cricket.com.au

The New Daily: Josh Hazlewood’s debut, Steve Smith’s captaincy, India’s whinging. There was plenty to take out of the second Test in Brisbane.

With Australia wrapping up a Test win within four days at the ‘Gabba, and racing out to a 2-0 series lead now heading to Melbourne on Boxing Day, the summer is off to the best possible start.

All eyes will now turn to the MCG, with injury concerns forcing more changes on the squad from Brisbane.

Queensland batsman Joe Burns has been called up for Boxing Day. Image: ABC Grandstand

Queensland batsman Joe Burns has been called up for Boxing Day. Image: ABC Grandstand

Mitchell Marsh has been ruled out of the Third Test with that hamstring injury, replaced for the Boxing Day Test by Queensland top order batsman, Joe Burns. Burns is one of the leading run-scorers in Sheffield Shield cricket this season.

The injury concerns have probably saved a few older players from a not unreasonable level of scrutiny and criticism, too. If all top order batsmen were fit and firing, there can be little doubt that Shane Watson and Brad Haddin would be under more pressure than they are.

Nevertheless, here are the lessons to take away from the Second Test.