England to shield bowlers before first Ashes Test

Friday, October 29, 2010

LONDON - The England cricket team management has decided to preserve its main bowlers ahead of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, by not fielding them for the final warm-up game scheduled in Hobart.

The selectors are not ready to risk any bowler right before the five-match series against arch-rivals Australia, so much so that a different set of bowlers will play the warm-up match in Hobart against Australia A while the main line-up will be camped in Brisbane.

The other reasons are that Brisbane is hot and humid while Hobart is much cooler and the nature of the two pitches are contrastingly different. Hobart’s Bellerive Oval is a low-bouncing deck in comparison to the pace and carry usually found at the Gabba, Brisbane.

The English are set to arrive in Australia Saturday, with the first Test starting Nov 25.

“We picked the squad so that every obstacle that might be thrown at us would be covered,” Geoff Miller, the national selector was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

“We do not really want our bowlers flogging away on a slow, nothing pitch just before the first Test. We have also taken the conditions, such as the climate differences, into consideration as well,” said Miller.

The move by England reveals the planning undertaken by team director and coach Andy Flower to ensure his team is fully ready for the first Test.

“We will need to be flexible and see how Jimmy is and how much bowling he has done by then, but we have got enough cover to play a proper attack in the game against Australia A in Hobart,” said Miller.

“That is why Ajmal Shahzad is with us until then, and why the Performance Programme Squad is also based in the country.”

The bowlers most likely to be involved in the first Test are James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Steve Finn, Graeme Swann and will with David Saker, the team’s Australian bowling coach.

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