Home > Features >

Why Test debutant Moises Henriques needs to look at Michael Clarke for inspiration

Why Test debutant Moises Henriques needs to look at Michael Clarke for inspiration

Moises Henriques, born in Funchal, Portugal, which is also the birthplace of the iconic footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, has been on the selectors’ radar for a few years, but his international appearances have been limited to the one-day arena © Getty Images

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Donning the coveted Baggy Green is the ultimate honour for any Australian cricketer. That honour has now been conferred upon all-rounder Moises Henriques, who is set to become the 432nd Test player to represent Australia when they face India at Chennai on February 22. Henriques beat the off-spinning all-rounder Glenn Maxwell in the race for the coveted cap ahead of the first Test.

For years, Henriques has been earmarked as a special talent with his useful medium-pacers and an aggressive approach to batting. Born in Funchal, Portugal (which is also the birthplace of the iconic footballer Cristiano Ronaldo), he has been on the selectors’ radar for a few years, but his international appearances have been limited to the one-day arena. However, the Test cap is a big step and the opportunity to impress and cement his spot in the side.

Henriques’ record in First-Class cricket:

M R Ave 100s 50s HS Wkts Ave
39 1745 30.61 1 11 161* 78 27.07

This record may not stand-out per se, but his returns during the 2012-13 First-Class season have been fantastic. In six games, he has scored 391 runs at an average of 65.16. With the ball, he picked up 14 wickets at 20.28. That has propelled his return to the Australian side after playing a few One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against Sri Lanka last month. In all likelihood, he will bat at No 7 and would be a back-up to the three fast-bowlers — should one of them have a bad day.

For some, Henriques’ selection ahead of Maxwell may seem surprising. Australia are already playing three frontline pacers in Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle and James Pattinson with Nathan Lyon being the lone spinner. While pace bowlers may have done well in India in recent years, Australia may have gone a bit too far on this occasion. With four fast-bowling options and the lone-spinner, they are pace heavy and the pressure on Lyon may be too much.

Maxwell’s inclusion would have given the side more balance as he could have backed up Lyon with his off-breaks. Perhaps, Michael Clarke may roll his arm over with his slow left-armers and that may have been a factor in making that call. The other reason why Henriques would have got in is the fact that Shane Watson wouldn’t be bowling during this series.

The onus is on Lyon to perform, but his experience in Sri Lanka (in 2011) should hold him in good stead. Against a formidable Sri Lankan batting line-up, he recorded a fifer in his very first innings. Since then he has established himself as Australia first-choice spinner and there is some stability in that department following the post-Shane Warne uncertainty. Lyon hasn’t had a good season at home, but might get back into his elements on the spin-friendly Indian tracks. As Stuart MacGill advised him, he needs to replicate the performance of his debut series.

Australia top three, David Warner, Ed Cowan and Phil Hughes, would be playing their first Tests in India. That puts an added responsibility on the shoulders of Watson and Clarke at numbers four and five as they will have to anchor the innings. In a sense, the glue of the Australian batting line-up is right in the middle as Mathew Wade and Henriques are also new to the Indian conditions. Considering these factors, it is a huge challenge for Henriques.

Recent tours would suggest that India hasn’t generally been a happy place for Australian debutants. Clarke is the only one who has gone on to build a successful career, but the others fell by the wayside. Nathan Hauritz made his Test debut on the 2004 tour, but had to wait for four more years for his next game. Cameron White (debut: 2008) and Peter George (debut: 2010) are yet to add to their Test caps after their first series. There is also the curious case of Jason Krejza, who picked up 12 wickets on debut but played only one more Test.

Henriques would want to change that negative trend and his inspiration in that regard he need not look beyond Clarke for inspiration.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Melbourne

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Jan 2, 2015 (14:00 IST)   at Cape Town

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Jan 3, 2015 (03:30 IST)   at Wellington

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 68 runs

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Australia won by 4 wkts

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Centurion

South Africa won by an innings and 220 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Ind vs Aus: Dhoni analyses the 4-wicket loss at Brisbane

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane: Mitchell Johnson’s performance in 2nd Test has ominous signs for India

Akshar Patel picked far too early for Test cricket

Shahid Afridi, please do not take the innocence away from cricket

South Africa vs West Indies 2014-15: Is Jason Holder a captain or a stooge?

Can Eoin Morgan change England’s limited-overs fortunes?

Anil Kumble Australia India Interviews Moments in history Ricky Ponting

Virat Kohli-Shikhar Dhawan’s fight reason for ‘unrest’ in Indian dressing room during 2nd Test vs Australia at Brisbane

Shane Watson in distress after being hit by bouncer; Australia’s training session ends abruptly

India vs Australia 2014-15, 3rd Test at Melbourne: India desperate for comeback against Australia to save Test series

Sri Lanka vs New Zealand 2014-15: Mighty Lankans begin final build-up to World Cup against Kiwis

Alastair Cook participates in World Darts Championships following World Cup axe

MS Dhoni arrives in international cricket

Dickie Bird and the mobile phone story: a tall tale?

New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 2014-15: Can New Zealand benefit from Kane Williamson’s captaincy in Tests?

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane: Mitchell Johnson’s performance in 2nd Test has ominous signs for India

South Africa vs West Indies 2014: Chance for Rilee Rossouw to make his mark

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

683 Posts | 6 Fans

Mitchell Johnson's 37 wickets against England in Ashes 2013-14

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here