Ashes 2021-22: Australia’s crucial practice match ‘extremely unlikely’ to go ahead in Brisbane
Australia’s Ashes preparation has been thrown into disarray, with Cricket Australia confirming a crucial practice match scheduled for this week is “extremely unlikely” to go ahead.
The Australia and Australia A squads had been due to face off in a three-day practice match from Wednesday, but wet weather in southeast Queensland has forced Cricket Australia to begin planning other sessions.
The likely cancellation of the match means selectors will miss their only chance to see the squad’s repatriated T20 World Cup players – including Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and new captain Pat Cummins – playing in a fully fledged red-ball game setting before the Ashes begin on December 8.
All five are locks for selection in the first Test at the Gabba, but none have played red-ball cricket since last summer’s Sheffield Shield season.
A CA spokesman confirmed on Monday evening Australia wouldn’t train on Tuesday, and that the first day of the proposed practice match would likely be replaced with centre wicket and net practice sessions.
It won’t be the first time Australian sessions have been scrapped ahead of the five-Test series – wet weather forced Australia to miss out on training last Wednesday and Thursday.
England, also based out of a southeast Queensland hub, is similarly coming to grips with the strong possibility of missing out on its last match simulation.
The remaining members of the England squad will join their teammates in camp tomorrow after they are released from quarantine on the Gold Coast.
They’d have been available to play in a four-day intra-squad match at Ian Healy Oval in Brisbane this week but that hitout, like Australia’s, is unlikely to go ahead.
Despite the disjointed preparation for key members of the squad, Australian bowling coach Andrew McDonald indicated on Sunday there would be “no excuses” for a slow start to the Ashes.
“We’ve had fantastic facilities up here,” he said from Australia’s Gold Coast hub.
“The weather’s been challenging at times, but we’ve still been able to get out into the centre.
“Also, these guys have got a lot of Test experience to draw upon. So changing formats is something that they’ve been able to deal with across their careers.
“I think we’ll be really, really, really well-prepared.”
Originally published as Australia’s crucial Ashes practice match ‘extremely unlikely’ to go ahead
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