Owais Shah says Australia lack 'X-factor'
Australia's bowlers have been rusty at the start of their tour and Owais Shah, who scored 92 for Middlesex at Lord's in the last warm-up match before the one-day series against England, believes they don't hold the 'X-factor' of previous attacks.
The tourists are without Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle and Brett Lee due to various injuries and the current line-up is led by Doug Bollinger who was the pick of the bowlers against Middlesex with 3 for 24 despite having little action of late after being left out of the World Twenty20 squad. He was followed by Ryan Harris and Clint McKay with support from Shane Watson, Nathan Hauritz and Steven Smith but Shah's innings enabled the hosts to post a respectable 273 for 5.
"One thing I would say is that there wasn't the firepower around, like with Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee last summer when England lost 6-1 to Australia. That could have been the difference," said Shah. "It will be a toughly fought contest against England but they definitely don't have the 'X-factor' they did when Johnson and Lee were playing.
"They've still got a good, well-balanced attack with a couple of spinners and guys who bowl good slower balls. What you get with an Australian attack, they do the basics well. They hit the line and lengths really well and they are always attacking the stumps, the basics of one-day cricket."
However, Shah added he didn't think it would matter who England came up against at the moment with the confidence they have gained from winning the World Twenty20 and turning their one-day fortunes around since the 6-1 mauling by Australia after last year's Ashes series.
"I don't think the England team will fear anyone, especially coming off the back of winning the Twenty20 World Cup," he said. "I know it is a different form of the game but predominately the middle order and top order are more or less the same apart from Strauss coming in.
"But you've got Kieswetter, Morgan, Collingwood and Pietersen who were all in the Caribbean. They are on a high. I don't think they will fear the Australian attack, they will keep play the way they've been playing."
Shah, though, did acknowledge Bollinger has developed into a very dangerous bowler after failing to impress when he played for Worcestershire in 2008. "He's a class act and that's why he plays for Australia and has been playing for a while now," he said. "He's a very good bowler, very impressive."
Shah was dropped from the England one-day squad following the Champions Trophy last September despite a thrilling 98 in the victory against South Africa which helped the team to the semi-finals where they ultimately lost by nine wickets to Australia. He made a slow start to this season after returning from the IPL, but despite an improvement in his form, he doesn't expect a call from the selectors anytime soon.
"I haven't heard from the England squad," he said. "The reason I got left out was I wasn't consistent enough so I will just try to be consistent I guess. I feel really good in my game, striking it reasonably well and this innings was a continuation of that. I've got some runs to show for it."
Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo