Ashes: Aussies ready for England despite lack of red-ball gametime for key players

Jasper BruceNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: Supplied

Newly-appointed Test cricket captain Pat Cummins says his side would be ready to face England “in the next few days” if it had to, even though key players are short on recent red-ball gametime.

Australia’s reluctance to tour during the pandemic and the crossover between its Ashes and T20 World Cup squads has meant that, of the 11 Aussies likely to play in the first Ashes Test, five (Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, David Warner and new vice-captain Steve Smith) have gone more than six months without playing red-ball cricket.

The new captains are in the longest drought of the quintet — neither Smith nor Cummins has played a first-class match since February.

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But speaking from the side’s quarantine training base on the Gold Coast, Cummins said the returning T20 World Cup champions were fit, firing and ready for the summer ahead.

“Today was a really good hitout,” said Cummins on Saturday, after his first training session as captain.

“We were able to simulate match intensity really well. We had a big bowl, us bowlers, two big spells.

“If the Test match was in the next couple of days, we’d be ready to go.”

England v Australia - 3rd Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Two
Camera IconThe skipper has faith in his teammates. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images) Credit: Supplied

Cummins was unveiled as Tim Paine’s successor on Friday and said he was grateful for the outpouring of support from those close to him.

“My phone’s been a bit busy in the last day,” Cummins said with a smile.

“You forget how many people have your phone number! I’ve gotten hundreds of messages, all really nice.

“It’s a great way to start. I’ve got a lot of support behind me.

“The squad in quarantine, there’s about 20 of us, have been great for Steve (Smith) and I, too.”

But aside from working overtime to read banked-up text messages, Cummins says it’s been business as usual, and predicts that his appointment won’t completely sink in until he’s got the roar of the Aussie crowd behind him.

“I think when I walk out at the Gabba and see a big home crowd, pull on the Baggy Green and go out for the toss, I think that’s when it’ll probably hit me,” he said.

“But it’s a bit of a weird feeling.”

Originally published as Ashes: Aussies ready for England despite lack of red-ball gametime for key players

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