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Australian cricket team fast bowlers gearing up for Ashes against England

As Australian cricket team gears up for the Ashes against England, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood will play domestic cricket while James Pattinson will continue to recover from inflammation in his back.

cricket Updated: Oct 03, 2017 21:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
The Ashes,Australian cricket team,England cricket team
Mitchell Starc is all set to make a comeback from an injury lay-off for the Ashes against England, starting on November 23.(REUTERS)

Australia’s fast bowling line-up is gearing up for the Ashes 2017-18 as spearheads Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are all set to make comebacks after injury layoffs. The Ashes begins on November 23 at The Gabba in Brisbane.

Starc had last played for Australia in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, whereas Hazlewood had suffered a side strain during their first Test in Bangladesh last month.

READ | Australia will beat England in Ashes with or without Ben Stokes, if pacers are fit

However, right-arm quick James Pattinson, who had suffered inflammation around the area where he had suffered a stress fracture in the past, is being handled cautiously and did not take part in the ongoing JLT Cup in Australia — the tournament in which Starc is set for his comeback.

Starc, according to cricket.com.au, will turn up in the domestic 50-over competition for his home team New South Wales (NSW), and is also expected to play in as many as three First-Class games in the Sheffield Shield to bolster his fitness and form.

READ | Australia’s Matthew Wade feels the heat in India as Ashes selection nears

Australia’s bowling coach David Saker — currently filling in as the head coach in absence of Darren Lehmann in the ongoing India tour — has confirmed that Starc and Hazlewood will play First-Class cricket in the lead-up to the Ashes.

“Whether the fast bowlers play all three of those we’ll wait and see. Three Shield games to shape the Australian team — it’s going to be good for everybody,” Saker said.

While confirming the uncertainty surrounding Pattinson, the bowling coach said, “Three of them we know are on track. James Pattinson’s had a little setback but we’re not sure how bad at the moment. Josh Hazlewood is on track to play the first Test. Mitchell Starc’s going really well and Patty’s (Pat Cummins) obviously flying.”

READ | England cricket team plagued by uncertainty ahead of Ashes series vs Australia

“He’s (Pat Cummins) going to have a bit of a rest and then heat up into Shield cricket. I think it’s really good for the whole Australian team that they’ve got three Shield games. Whether the fast bowlers play all three of those, we’ll wait and see,” Saker added.

Australia are hoping to play Pattinson as the third fast bowler alongside Starc and Hazlewood, but there will be selection dilemmas with Pat Cummins proving his fitness and versatility on the recent tours of India and Bangladesh.

Owing to his workload and performances, Cummins was rested from Australia’s T20I series in India starting October 7. Meanwhile, Nathan Coulter-Nile’s performances in the ODI series in India have also added his name in the list of fast bowlers Australia can pick.

The possibility of the home team playing a four-pronged pace attack was reduced when Nathan Lyon — who claimed 22 wickets in a mere two Tests in Bangladesh — was declared a certainty in Australia’s bowling attack for the first Ashes 2017-18 Test by head coach Lehmann.

First Published: Oct 03, 2017 12:08 IST