Australia's fast-bowling line-up will be able to bounce back at the World Cup despite a lack of experience in the Caribbean, according to Jason Gillespie. None of Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Shaun Tait, Mitchell Johnson and Shane Watson have played international matches in the West Indies, leaving Glenn McGrath as Australia's only frontline bowler with local knowledge.
Gillespie, who has 28 Test wickets at 21.21 and six ODI dismissals from two Caribbean tours, said variation was the key to successful pace bowling in the West Indies. He said Shaun Tait could be seriously destructive on the Caribbean pitches.
"On the tours I've been on, I've found the wickets to be reasonably similar to those on the sub-continent," Gillespie told The Sunday Mail. "The outfields are fast and the wickets are low and slow. The guys have to hit the track hard and be patient.
"They will have to make sure their line and length is right on the money and they need to hit their change-ups - the yorkers and slower balls. It will all come down to execution. I think Shaun Tait can be a revelation over there. Anyone who bowls 160kph will be a danger in the West Indies. You have to bowl Tait early. He may be a bit erratic but I'll take that if he's taking 3 for 55, rather than 1 for 40."
Gillespie said the popular view that Australia were losing their ability to defend big scores and nail their yorkers at crucial times was unfair. "The criticism of the bowlers has been overstated," he said. "To suggest they've lost their aura of invincibility is a load of crap.
"I know they will do well in the Caribbean. I don't think their [inexperience] is a concern. The guys going over there have a bit of first-class and international experience. At the end of the day, you have to get experience in different countries at some stage and they may as well get it now."
Andy Bichel, who helped Australia win the World Cup in 2003, said Ricky Ponting must be prepared to use variety in his attack. "The team that has the most flexibility in their line-up will win the World Cup," Bichel said. "The one-day wickets in the Caribbean can be a bit uneven, the grounds are small and the bowlers will face some pretty hostile crowds as well.
"As the tournament goes on, the wickets will get lower and slower so Ricky needs to consider bowling blokes like Michael Clarke and keep other teams guessing. If Ricky is flexible, I know we have the skill and character to win it."