Justin Langer watches on as the Australian team are in the nets

Justin Langer confident of Ashes preparation ahead of intra-squad match

Australia coach Justin Langer has talked up Australia’s preparation for The Ashes ahead of an inter-squad match at The Ageas Bowl tomorrow.

The inter-squad match will see the likes of Steve Smith, Matthew Wade and captain Tim Paine lineup against a fast bowling attack potentially including all of Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

The choice of having the Australians face off against each other is relatively unique but comes at a time when the quality of opposition provided by host boards is often questioned.

However, Langer was very optimistic a day out from the match about their preparation. “I can’t think of a better preparation, Langer said. “We’ve got great facilities, we’ve got 25 of the best cricketers in Australia here, they’re going to go head to head, they’ll play tough cricket.  

“We just had a World Cup so a lot of them, there’s six or seven who are battle-hardened already, we’ve had some Australia A cricket, hopefully, this is as good a preparation as we can get.”

The squads for tomorrow’s match features everyone in the 25-man preliminary Ashes squad apart from Usman Khawaja who is recovering from a hamstring injury picked up in the World Cup.

Tim Paine shared Langer’s positive outlook on Australia’s preparation whilst also highlighting what he sees as opposition cricket boards doing less to help each other prepare ahead of overseas tours.

“Over the years the opposition in tour games has, I wouldn’t say it’s got worse, but I don’t think opposition cricket boards have helped each other prepare as much as they used to,” Paine said.  

“You have to find different ways in your preparation to make sure everyone is ready to go for Test match intensity.

“And obviously a series of Ashes magnitude, we thought it was a great idea and as close to a Test match as we think we can get.

“It’s a perfect preparation.” 

Australia’s Ashes campaign starts at Edgbaston on August 1.

JOEL KIFFIN / Getty Images

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