(Photo: Getty Images)
By Adam Collins
THE fast bowling posse that Australia has brought to England for the upcoming one-day series may the least experienced in modern memory, but don’t doubt the tricks they bring. This was the message from Aaron Finch, the tourists’ vice-captain, before they arrived in the country on Wednesday.
Their injury news got much worse on the morning of their departure when the man who was slated to lead the attack, Josh Hazlewood, was ruled out with a back complaint. He joined fellow first-choice quicks Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins who were ruled out following a bruising southern summer.
The last time that Australia went overseas without the trio was to South Africa for five one-day internationals in October 2016, a misadventure where they were routed 5-0. But exactly a year out from the start of the World Cup, Finch sees this quandary as an opportunity for a younger bowler to demand selection for that tournament alongside established big three.
Not least Queensland spearhead Michael Neser, the 28-year-old who was brought into the group at the last minute for Hazlewood. It is a decision that will deliver the right-armer with his first taste of international action some eight years after his professional debut.
“He’s very difficult,” Finch told TCP of facing the bowler who was born in South Africa before emigrating with his family at the age of ten.
“He swings it both ways at decent pace which is very handy. Something that he’s also worked on a lot over the last couple of years is his different slower balls and his yorker, so he brings a huge skillset to the attack.”
Throwing in his power with the bat – Neser made his first List-A century last October (a rapid knock that included seven sixes) before adding two half-centuries in Queensland’s Sheffield Shield triumph – and Finch believes they have a legitimate “all-round package.”
Neser joins Jhye Richardson, Billy Stanlake and Kane Richardson as the generation next component parts of the attack, complemented by the veteran short-form specialist Andrew Tye.
“We have got guys who can bowl fast and guys who can swing it so we’ve still got a lot of bases covered with our resources,” Finch added.
At 21, Richardson has already toured with the Australian Test squad such is the reputation he has developed as one of the fastest bowlers in the land with a point of difference the low trajectory he delivers from. His sole ODI was against England in January, claiming 2-57 in a well-received display.
The giant-sized Stanlake emerged on the ODI scene a year before, but it was in T20 cricket that he exploded as an integral member of the Australian side that went unbeaten in the February tri-series against England and New Zealand, thus earning him an IPL deal with Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Richardson is a better-known quantity, but the accurate 27-year-old still only has 15 caps to his name, enhancing his reputation playing 50-over cricket in India last September.
Tim Paine’s team begins their warm-up fixtures on June 7 and 9 at Hove and Lord’s respectively before the series-proper kicks off against England at The Oval four days later.
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