Lillee fears for Australia's pacemen

Australia's 10-wicket rout of Bangladesh on Saturday was proof that they have put their early-tour jitters to one side, but Dennis Lillee, arguably the greatest Australian fast bowler of all, remains concerned about the depth and longevity of the nation's fast bowlers.

Lillee, who was Cricket Australia's pace-bowling mentor until the end of last year, believes that too little is being done to ensure that Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Mike Kasprowicz have worthy successors when their eventual retirements come. At present they have a combined age of 98 and 849 Test wickets between them, but Lillee is well aware that they cannot go on forever.

"I haven't seen anything put back in place for the young fast bowlers of Australia. That's worrying," Lillee told The Australian newspaper. "That was why the whole Pace Australia [bowling programme] was set up. I hope something is in place because we are facing the same situation we faced 14 to 15 years ago when I came on board."

Lillee's services were first called upon in the 1990s when Merv Hughes and Craig McDermott were the willing but ageing spearheads of the Australian pace attack. McGrath's coming-of-age, on the seminal 1994-95 tour of West Indies, ensured that the new ball has been in good hands ever since, but the next generation has few stand-out stars at present. Brett Lee, 28, has some time on his side, with the 22-year-old Shaun Tait promising to be the best of the rest.

Cricket Australia, however, remain adamant that the succession is going to plan, even since Lillee's departure. "The national pace bowling program is an integral part of Australia's high performance system," said a CA spokesman. "Further appointments to the national pace bowling program are expected to be announced in due course."