Alex Doolan should be Australia's No.3 batsman in South Africa, says Dean Jones.

Alex Doolan should be Australia's No.3 batsman in South Africa, says Dean Jones. Photo: Getty Images

While many cricket fans are rejoicing in our recent success, not many have thanked James Sutherland, the CEO of Cricket Australia, Pat Howard, the high-performance manager, or the Australian selectors for their efforts. When the proverbial hits the fan, these guys are the first ones everyone blames. They deserve a lot of the credit yet they won't receive any. Interestingly, while things are going great, it is all about the team, Michael Clarke and Darren Lehmann who will receive all the accolades.

And yet, Sutherland, Howard and the selectors cannot rest on their past deeds. They have all performed brilliantly under some serious pressure, but there is so much work to be done. It is a time to keep things simple. We must stick to our strategies and worry about the now. Let us not focus on our next match and tournament. One great summer doesn't make a great era.

While I am enjoying our success, I am still worried about our future. If we put in a shocker against South Africa and have a poor Twenty20 World Cup, we are back to where we were a year ago.

We have some serious problems in all of our three different formats and they need to be addressed ASAP or we will be smashed again.

TEST CRICKET

Problem 1: The selection of Shaun Marsh for the South African tour was outrageous. This selection shows signs that the selectors are getting a little too funky. I haven't got any against Shaun as I have known him since he was a kid. But this selection is not the right message to be sending to our cricketers around the country. Selecting Marsh means that the selectors are happy with mediocrity after his below-average performances over the past three years.

Clearly, no one is really happy with Shane Watson at No. 3. Are the selectors saying Marsh is a better replacement? Here is where good selection is crucial. What did our selectors learn from the inclusion of Chris Rogers? He averaged over 50 in first-class cricket and it was no surprise that he would perform well in Test cricket.

When players average fewer than 25 over three years, there must be problems with technique and decision-making. Obviously our selectors are getting erratic here, because by selecting, they believe his technique and mental toughness will stand up to Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander on grassy decks in South Africa. Do they honestly think that he is good enough? Really? Give me a break.

Marsh has made a few one-day international runs of late, but did the selectors learn anything when they selected George Bailey, who had a great one-day series versus India? Do one-day runs justify Test selection? The Bailey experiment would suggest otherwise. What we do know, and what has worked for over 100 years, is that we must select players who make quality runs in the Sheffield Shield. I cannot think of a player who averaged low 30s in Shield cricket and over 45 in Test cricket.

Problem 2: We still haven't found a quality No. 3. The biggest common denominator for every great Test team is they all have a great No. 3. Don Bradman, Viv Richards, Ricky Ponting and Hashim Amla all come to mind as great No. 3s in great Test Teams. I believe a great No. 3 will always outweigh a great No. 4 or No. 5.

A great No. 3 must have certain dynamic abilities. He must possess the ability of an opening batsmen and have the dash of a No. 6. Basically, he must have more gears than any other batsman. His defence must be the best in the team, while his attacking strokes need to be as aggressive as any middle-order player.

Watson's numbers aren't too bad. He has batted 19 times at an average of 42. But his first-innings scores let him down, averaging only 28 in the first innings during the Ashes.

I believe Alex Doolan, who has impressed many fine judges, should be our No. 3 in South Africa. Doolan's first-class average of 37 could be better, but he has been playing a lot on sporting tracks down at Bellerive. Phil Hughes will earn his spot once Rogers departs and that will be good for him. Watson should bat at No. 6 and we are good to go.

Problem 3: Peter Siddle is now under the watchful eye of the Australian selectors and coach. Already Darren Lehmann has been demanding that all of his quicks must bowl close to 140km/h. Over the past couple of years, Siddle has changed his diet and drinking and yet his speed has slipped to around 135km/h. When you bowl around that speed in Test cricket, you better be as accurate as Glenn McGrath, or swing it big time, or he will become cannon fodder for the South Africans.

I love Sidds and his never-say-die attitude, but this South African tour could make or break him. Two years back, Siddle was bowling near to 150km/h. Now he has taken only 25 wickets in his past nine Tests and his speed is down. The pitches in South Africa might suit him, but he knows he has two young quicks in James Pattinson and Jackson Bird snapping at his heels.

ONE-DAY TEAM

Problem 1: We have no "death" bowlers and we need to find someone who can fill that important role soon.

Problem 2: Selectors need to find a full-time spot for Steve Smith. With players rested he was brought in for Perth, but he is a gun and should be picked for every game. The white ball doesn't swing that long and if Aaron Finch or David Warner miss out or are injured, he could do a Mark Waugh and fit into that team as an opener. Or he could do the job of George Bailey if the selectors are looking for the future. Bailey has been brilliant at this format but do the big grounds and our bouncy decks worry him?

TWENTY20 TEAM

Problem 1: None of our selectors have played Twenty20 cricket, while Andy Bichel is a bowling coach for Chennai in the Indian Premier League. They would admit they are challenged in selecting teams in this format. The selectors should consult Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds and Matty Hayden, who know the game better than most.

Our selectors must bite their tongue and pick Brad Hodge. You ask any quality Twenty20 player worth their salt about Hodge, and they all say that he must be in our best team. Incredibly, Hodge wasn't selected in the Twenty20 team to play England next week. The selectors know how good Hodge is and maybe they want to try some other guys out. That's fine for me, but when we tour Bangladesh in March, Hodge must be in our best XI if we want to win this.

Problem 2: While most Twenty20 games are won in the new-ball battles or the first six overs, who are our death bowlers? As in our one-day team, we just don't have a Lasith Malinga-quality bowler for the last overs. It is a difficult role to play . I believe we should hide our death bowlers as much as we can before the Twenty20 World Cup so batsmen cannot work out their tricks or speeds.