Australia in England 2012 June 24, 2012

Cook to have early look at Australia


Australia's first chance to measure their progress against England since the last Ashes series will have a pointed prelude in Essex, with Alastair Cook intending to play for his county in Tuesday's 50-over match at Chelmsford. England's ODI captain, Cook was not a part of the Twenty20 side who faced the West Indies on Sunday and so will get a sighter of the Australian bowlers, who have changed their approach markedly since he ran up 766 runs against them in five Tests in Australia.

Following the rain-ruined ODI against Ireland in Belfast, the tourists returned early to London for an additional training session at Lord's. Their coach Mickey Arthur said the squad was now eager to face England, a team whose methods and successes were a major influence on the direction Australia have taken since the release of the Argus review a little less than a year ago.

"I think England over the last 12 months have been very proficient, particularly in their own conditions," Arthur said. "They've won six ODI series in a row in their own conditions, which makes them formidable opponents out here. We're very excited though to come and play. We feel like we've got our one day side going in the right direction, we feel there's definite role clarity, guys know where they stand and they're ready to take the baton on."

Having rotated their bowlers through the first two matches of the tour, the Australians will now seek to settle into close to their best side at Chelmsford. A six-strong pace bowling battery must be pared down to three, Brett Lee to be supported by two of James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay and Ben Hilfenhaus. The batsmen, meanwhile, have only had one chance to get to the middle so far, leaving Arthur keen to get a full match in against Essex.

"We'll have some serious consideration around trying to put out the team against Essex that we think might play in the first ODI because we need to get some preparation into them now, particularly our batters," he said. "Our bowlers have had a good hit-out, and you can always manufacture it for bowlers through your training. but batters a re a little different, batters need time in the middle. So we'll look to probably playing the outfit that's going to play the first ODI against Essex, or very close to it."

Arthur and the captain Michael Clarke are intent on balancing their batting resources carefully. George Bailey's absence from the Ireland match with a minor groin strain prompted a shuffle in the order, as Peter Forrest was slated to come in at No. 3, Shane Watson promoted to open with David Warner and the wicketkeeper Matthew Wade dropped down to bat at Nos. 6 or 7. Arthur said he needed his batsmen to be flexible, knowing their roles could change depending on who was around them.

"I think if you get too structured you're putting all your cards on deck," he said. "Yes we'd like some consistency for our batters so they know where they're going to bat, but the batters know from my conversations with them that they know what's expected, they know what roles they're going to play. And we're just lucky that we've got Wadey who can go from opening to finishing with minimal fuss. He's proficient at both."

A part of the selection panel that chose Australia's slimmed-down list of 17 contracted players, Arthur said the choice of only six batsmen reflected a lack of certainty over the nation's batting stocks, and would help to make other players a little hungrier to perform over the next 12 months.

"That sends a real message out to batters that we're looking for batters to really stand up and grasp for their opportunities, in all forms," he said. "It probably looks like that we're a little more certain on our bowling stocks than we are on our batting stocks and if that's a message then I think it's the correct message.

"We just tried to be as consistent as we could to forward think a little bit and see who the batters are who we're going to use. It would look silly if the contracts came out and then we picked guys that weren't anywhere near the contract list.

"We had to try to be as consistent as we could, as certain as we could with certain players and individuals, and the message then is clear that there are batting positions available. If a guy can string three Tests together or six ODIs, they will get the contract, but we're looking for batsmen to put their hand sup and say this is where they want to be."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on June 27, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    @hyclass... Agree on Forrest, he should have just been kept for the Aust A team... Many of us commented over last summer on his average/sr in OD'ers & his low standing... Last season among those that played at least half the OD cup matches, Tom Cooper ave@73 sr@88 or Klinger ave@55 sr@81 (both on Aust A tour) would have been better choices... Forrest has been selected for his future Test potential which goes against all logical thinking - even Ed Cowan ave@49 sr@82 stats are much better than Forrests ave@29 sr@67... Funny how the Argus report called on "performance based" selections for all formats - hmmm... Someone seems to have put the report in the bottom draw again...

  • Roo on June 27, 2012, 6:34 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding... You didn't answer my question - "Aren't WI's & SA important to you as opposition?"... Funny how many are bagging the Oz ODI tour & praising the Saffa tour... Also your "ECB and CA wanted to move the Ashes so that it fell outside of the cycle of the World Cup" - sorry you are wrong - 2015 we play an Ashes series while in 2019 the WC is in the middle of the Ashes tour... Re: Olympics? May be the largest but you should know that the soccer WC is the most popular... As I said - no interest... Over 300 events - 90%+ of the sports are rarely if ever mentioned in the media & most people would be pushed to name more than a few high profile athletes... Try naming your womens water polo or synchronized swimming team members - how about archery or small bore rifle or pistol?...

  • darius on June 26, 2012, 16:37 GMT

    @5wombats oh really!thats what you should do which seems more appropriate than bashing others.....

  • Jason on June 26, 2012, 15:07 GMT

    @zenboomerang, I did answer though I dont think you were able to comprehend. You have heard of the Olympics and realise that its the largest single sporting event in the world? And That it would detract from the Ashes this year, thus reducing gates, audiances etc. As for playing in 2014/5, both the ECB and CA wanted to move the Ashes so that it fell outside of the cycle of the World Cup.

  • Christopher on June 26, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    I think you've hit the nail on the head @Winsome.While this side may win matches,I disagree with Arthur that anyone knows what their roles are.I have little regard for Arthur's acumen & see his real skill as PR.He carried on publicly pushing Marsh into the side when all the evidence suggested it was an error,as it subsequently proved to be.I see absolutely no structure to his methodology.I'm also convinced that Forrest has no business being in the ODI squad.There was some suggestion that his recent numbers in 1st class cricket were superior to his career record.That may be true but he has only joined the ODI side recently.Regardless of the runs he scores,his S/R is appalling.A ODI average of 32 and a S/R of 68 loses games,not wins them.His List A S/R is 63 implying that improvent is improbable.Most batsmen have a natural S/R above which their average falls away.Forrest is a naturally slow scorer.Why include him in a format so foreign to his own game?Practices remain as obtuse as ever.

  • Martin on June 26, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    @dariuscorny - Tuesday is the day when the rubbish bins are collected in my street. Your comment arrived just in time.

  • Jason on June 26, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    @RandyOZ, I think you'll find you've had more starting with Charles Bannerman( born Kent, england), Bransby Cooper (born Dacca India), John Hodges (born London england), Tom Horan (Born Ireland), Tom Kendall (Born Bedford England), Billy Midwinter (Born Gloucester, england), Thomas Kelly (Born Ireland), George Alexander (Born Oxfordshire, England), Thomas Groube (born New Zealand), and thats 9 from from just the first 20 cricketers to play test cricket for Australia. In fact 21 non-Australian born players have represented Australia since 1877 in test cricket.

  • Roo on June 26, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding... Your reply doesn't answer why WI's & SA can play 6 Tests + ODI + T20 series in Eng yet a 5 Test Ashes series will not... Aren't they important to you as opposition?... Nor does it answer why Eng cannot tour to Oz in 2014 with the last Test being played early January, with enough time for a ODI series before the WC... As I said "old boys school" from ECB & CA stuffing up those that support them... Nothing personal to anyone else but I would much more likely go to a Test match than an Olympic event - the Olympics are crammed into a 2 week slot while an Ashes Test tour takes months - be lucky to see any more than an hour or two of the Olympics... No interest - sorry :(

  • Anupam on June 26, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    Oz will win beacause except cook & bell no other batsmen is able to score runs its look like T20 & finisher team. dernbach is a very expensive bowler, anderson swing will not work in odi. Oz bowling looks attacking as well as disciplined. Oz will not giving too many runs, but eng finisher can make them expensive in the last 10 overs. for 40 overs eng can't do anything.

  • darius on June 26, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    @5wombats your comments dont suggest Eng are half decent side in odis.the fact is they are a very ordinary side.they are even more thinner than India when they travel out of history is filled with Eng's mediocrty when it comes to play cricket be it tests or late they started playing good cricket specially at their den.sooner not later Eng will once again become an ordinary side which they used to be 1-2 yrs back....atleast Aussies have something(achievements)to say

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