Australia can lose Ashes 2017-18 if something happens to pacers: Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke, former Australian cricket team pacer, has said that the team can lose the 2017-18 Ashes series against England cricket team if one of the bowlers gets injured

cricket Updated: Nov 20, 2017 12:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ashes 2017-18,The Ashes,Australia vs England
Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins hold the key for Australia and former skipper Michael Clarke believes an injury to any of the bowlers could affect the outcome of the Ashes series versus England. (Getty Images)

Michael Clarke, former Australian skipper, believes the only condition in which Australia can lose the upcoming Ashes 2017-18 against England, is if one of their bowlers gets injured.

Australia have followed the formula of playing an all-rounder in their XI, irrespective of conditions and opponents for a long time. But the squad that was named last week for the Ashes starting at The Gabba in Brisbane on Thursday, does not have a specialist all-rounder.

The hosts have bolstered their batting order by recalling the veteran Shaun Marsh, leaving the four bowlers with the entire responsibility of winning the Urn for their side.

Two of the three fast bowlers — Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood — have shown form but they are returning from injuries, whereas Pat Cummins and sole spinner in the team, Nathan Lyon, have had a strong build-up to the Ashes.

Australia also have named seamer Chadd Sayers and Jackson Bird in their squad, with the former likely to feature in the second Test at the Adelaide Oval where he has had an excellent record.

Pointing out Australia’s reliance on four bowlers for the first two Tests at least, Clarke was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press, “I feel the only way Australia loses the Ashes is if something happens to one of those three quicks or Nathan Lyon. I would have been probably thinking it’s worth the risk to play an all-rounder at No.6, even if it’s only a few overs off the three quicks and Lyno, to try and get them through the whole series. Jackson Bird is in top form and Chadd Sayers has been a wonderful bowler for a long period of time, so we’ve got back-up,” he said.

“But I think our three quicks already play a part in the opposition’s mind knowing how skilful they are, how quick they can bowl,” Clarke added.

Meanwhile, Clarke also backed Marsh to fire on his yet another national team return. “I loved having him in the group and fought hard for him on occasions because I know how talented he is,” Clarke said.

“He can bat anywhere in the order. When he’s fit and healthy, he’s brilliant in the field. Shaun won’t let anyone down. I think he’s in good nick at the moment, happily married, got his child now as well, so I think he’s primed for a big series,” the cricketer-turned-commentator said.

First Published: Nov 20, 2017 12:49 IST