Australia will have ‘no excuses’ for slow start to Ashes, says assistant coach
Australia’s “big three” fast bowlers may not have played red-ball cricket for over six months but the Test side’s bowling coach says there’ll be “no excuses” for a slow start to the Ashes.
T20 World Cup duty ruled Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and new captain Pat Cummins out of the first leg of the Sheffield Shield season, so all three will be coming into the first Test at the Gabba cold.
Sport’s greatest rivalry is just around the corner and you can catch the Ashes live and ad-break free during play. New to Kayo? Start your free trial today >
But Australian bowling coach Andrew McDonald says he’s expecting the trio to overcome the disjointed preparation and hit the ground running from December 8.
“I think with we’ve made the best of what we’ve had,” McDonald said on Sunday afternoon.
“It was always going to be a shortened prep, and less than ideal switching formats and quarantine and all that stuff. But I think the art of the modern day cricketer is to be able to adapt to that.
“There’ll be no excuses from our end and I’m sure there’ll be no excuses from England’s end either.”
The Ashes squad members who played at the T20 World Cup are currently training from a quarantine hub on the Gold Coast, which McDonald said had given his bowlers ample time to reacclimatise to the longer format.
“We’ve had fantastic facilities up here. The weather’s been challenging at times but we’ve still been able to get out into the centre,” he said.
“Also, these guys have got a lot of Test experience to draw upon. So changing formats is something that they’ve been able to deal with across their careers.
“I think we’ll be really, really, really well-prepared.”
McDonald said he didn’t expect Cummins’ appointment to the captaincy would change his working relationship with the popular quick.
“From a bowlers’ perspective, I’ll be plugging into Patty as I normally do,” he said.
“The conversations I’ll be having with Pat, they won’t be too dissimilar to what we normally do from a bowler/tactical point of view.
“I think the conversations that will probably significantly change will be from (head coach Justin Langer) JL to Pat, there’ll be more engagement there.”
McDonald said he had been impressed by the Sheffield Shield form of Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson, the two other quicks selected in the Ashes squad, and that both were chances to push one of the “big three” out of the 11 during the five-Test series.
Richardson has shrugged off ongoing shoulder concerns this summer, while Neser has made the most of limited opportunities in between personal leave and an injury of his own.
“There’s no doubt (Richardson) will be putting some pressure (on the selectors) across the summer, whether it’s in the first Test or later on,” McDonald said.
“And you throw in Michael Neser, who’s been on the cusp over the last couple of seasons.
“Not many people are talking about him at the moment but that’s purely because he’s had a bit of a hamstring strain. He’s returning and he’ll be fit and available.”
“Across those five bowlers, we’ve got great depth, which is exciting.”
Originally published as Australia will have ‘no excuses’ for slow start to Ashes, says assistant coach
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails