Australia head coach Justin Langer looks set to take the approach of rotating his bowling attack for the highly-anticipated Ashes series later this year.
While some will suggest that more time with the ball in hand will help to improve the Aussie pace attack, Langer seems to be mindful of avoiding fatigue as his side look to extend their winning home run against England.
Lessons Learned From India Downfall
The Baggy Greens are looking to learn from their high-profile series defeat on home soil to India earlier this year, which saw the Aussies suffer a shock loss at the Gabba in the final encounter. Australia, who are 4/6 in the cricket betting odds to win the 2021-22 Ashes series, faced an understrength India side that was missing skipper Virat Kohli for much of the series. However, it was the tourists, with the aid of half-centuries from Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, and Cheteshwar Pujara in the fourth Test, that managed to secure a historic series win.
Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood featured in all four of those Tests, and there were some suggestions that fatigue may have played a part in the decisive clash in Brisbane. The talented Aussie seam attack could not bowl out India at the end of the last two Tests of the series, even with the advantage of home conditions. The defeat has since led the chairman of selectors, Trevor Hohns, to look into rotating selection, in a bid to keep their top pace bowlers fresh through the Ashes series.
Starc Says Sacrifices Must Be Made
As a key figure in the bowling attack, Starc has admitted that potentially sitting out games will be hard to take. The 31-year-old feels every player will want to play every match but that the “mindset of the fast bowlers is wanting to win the series”.
Ultimately for the greater good, the likes of Starc, Cummins, and Hazlewood will have to accept there could be times they are watching the 2021-22 Ashes action unfold from the comfort of the pavilion. If Australia is successful and extends a 10-year unbeaten home Ashes series streak, Langer and his players might well look at the defeat to India as a turning point.
Preparations Well Underway
Cricket Australia is doing all they can to put the Test side in the best possible position ahead of their opening encounter with England at the Gabba on December 8th. The governing body is looking to get 60% of the domestic Sheffield Shield season completed before the first Test, to give as many players as possible a chance to impress in red-ball cricket before the Ashes.
Keeping the country’s top bowlers fit and fresh is just another part of the ongoing strategy, and one that Cricket Australia is hoping will see the Test side extend England’s long wait for an Ashes series win Down Under.