The Ashes 2013-14 October 15, 2013

England tour raises Western Australia depth concerns

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England have asked Cricket Australia to ensure the Ashes tourists face adequate opposition in their tour matches, with players set to be drafted in from around the country to bolster a Western Australia state XI for the tour opener in Perth.

Each of the three matches scheduled for England ahead of the first Test in Brisbane will clash with a Sheffield Shield round, and the first will take place while Australia's ODI team are still on duty in India. These circumstances will likely leave the WA squad for the three-day match at the WACA ground particularly weak.

ESPNcricinfo understands that early discussions have taken place around the shape of that team, and players not chosen for Shield duty in some of the stronger states may be required to fly across the continent and don the Western Australia cap for a week.

Some of the players likely to find themselves around the fringes of state sides making room for numerous international participants include Peter Handscomb and Scott Boland for Victoria, Scott Henry and Kurtis Patterson for New South Wales and Luke Feldman in Queensland.

There is less ECB concern about the subsequent four-day encounter against a New South Wales side at the SCG given the state's deeper pool of talent, while the Australia A team to face the Englishmen over four days in Hobart between the two state matches is expected to be stronger on batting than bowling, as was the case when they faced the South Africans in Sydney last year.

Western Australia's struggles to cobble together a strong enough team highlight the lack of depth in the state, a decline over numerous years contrasting with talent stocks in the 1990s that were so strong as to push the likes of David Hussey and Stuart MacGill to the eastern seaboard.

The coach Justin Langer has already enlisted the services of his former Test team-mate Simon Katich as a senior pro in the domestic limited-overs competition, and may be attempting to convince the 38-year-old to take part in more Warriors fixtures either in the Shield or against the Englishmen.

England have themselves switched players from county to county for tour matches in the past, Nick Compton playing for Worcestershire as well as Somerset in the early weeks of the Ashes tour this year as the home selectors pondered his place on the fringes of the Test team.

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

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  • wch77 on October 18, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    What is happening to our cricket? They are going to have interstate players come in and play for WA. Why not jet in a few Kiwis as well. What a joke this is. It's Western Australia, it should be players from WA. For one thing it's a farce that the hit and giggle in India is again stuffing our Ashes series up. A full strength WA team would not only be the decent thing to do but wd give Johnson and Coulter Nile a good hit out against the English. Sutherland has to go.

  • Chris_P on October 17, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding. Agree with you. They probably made a polite enquiry as any touring team would & this gets written up. I really doubt, unless selectors want to look at a potential player & request that player has a guest stint, that players will be invited from other states. And if you know Western Australians, they are fiercely protective of their own.

  • YorkshirePudding on October 17, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    @Chris_P, I dont disagree, but if you read the article theres a lot of 'its understood', 'may be' statements in there, like a lot of articles on cricinfo i take it with a pinch of salt, its in the writers interest to spark a controversial tone. I think any touring team would request a challenge as they want to learn lessons and have a tough game, otherwise they'd simply arrange 3-4 presidents XI games.

  • Chris_P on October 16, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding. I understand that about CA, but I really hope they never do. It should, always, fall back on the states/counties & their respective associations to determine what way their teams would be selected. I would hate to ever see a BCCI style of "requesting" considerations. it has, as you know, always been the way of counties to rest their star players & blood youngsters against touring sides & visiting teams just took it. I would suggest the tourists adopt the same attitude or else organize a game against the Young Lions, but really, why even go this way? it only serves to fire up your opposition.

  • milepost on October 16, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    @willsrustynuts, Australia have never doctored pitches, despite our colonial roots, there are many depths we won't sink to. A sub par WA side would give England a run for their money anyway in unfamiliar conditions.

  • ian2208 on October 16, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    It was Swann who "refused" to bowl at Ed Cowan when he was at Notts. Not quite sure how any Aussie can complain about the hospitality, can you imagine Queensland or WA signing an England Test player for a month or so prior to the Ashes series? well Notts and Middlesex have Rogers and Cowan pre-Ashes practice.

    Stop bleating about England asking CA to ensure they're not up against WA U17s. All three counties put up half decent sides against you lot this year, that you stuffed them proves to all the difference between first class and Test cricket.

  • YorkshirePudding on October 16, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    @Mitty2, thats not strictly true, as it was a list A game, and consisted of D Hussey and Cam White both of which have played at international level in the previous 2 years.

  • Mitty2 on October 16, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    @shaggy076, yes, but Vic Second XI hammered the Eng Lions last summer - a reflection of which? Depth of Victoria or lack of depth of England?

  • smudgeon on October 16, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Quite sure last week I saw Jason Krezja in Martin Plaza, holding a sign that said "Will bowl for food"...

  • willsrustynuts on October 16, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    As an Englishman I would prefer to see the Aussies get all precious and field a schoolboy eleven and then doctored the pitches as they have promised...beating them will then be even sweeter.

    Big thanks to all for making winning such a pleasureable experience.

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