Australia’s preparation for the Ashes first Test is grossly inadequate

By Kersi Meher-Homji

The first Ashes Test at Edgbaston, Birmingham starts tomorrow and I think that the preparation for this big event is hugely inadequate.

To meet England in a Test match without playing a single first-class county match in white clothes and with red ball is mind-boggling to me. Surprisingly, no cricket expert / commentator has mentioned about this inadequate preparation. I call it suicidal non-preparation!

Australia performed reasonably well in the Cricket World Cup (CWC) three weeks ago. But a five-day Test is a different ball game.

Just look at what happened to CWC champions England when they took on the lowly placed Ireland in the Lord’s Test last week. All out for 85! The World Cup winning England team was still in the One Day Cricket mindset. They woke up soon after and did well to win the Test.

Cricket Australia should have demanded that the Australian team plays at least one three day match against a strong county team rather than an irrelevant Brad Haddin XII against a Graeme Hick XII match at Southampton. It achieved little apart from stressing that Australia is still not ready to take on England for the first Test.

New Zealand toured England during the last Cricket World Cup in England in 1999. Subsequent to the World Cup the Kiwis played a three-day match against British Universities (which they won by an innings and 44 runs) and a four day match against Somerset at Taunton which they also won by six wickets. So they were prepared to play England for the first Test.

Perhaps Cricket Australia is suffering from over-confidence having won the previous Ashes series in Australia 4-0 with one Test drawn. They should realise that playing conditions in Australia and England are vastly different.

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