SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia have rested their frontline fast bowlers from a Sheffield Shield clash in Perth to keep them fresh ahead of the four-test home series against India, starting early next month.
Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are all part of Australia’s 14-man squad for the opening two tests in Adelaide and Perth, and the New South Wales Blues trio will sit out the clash against Western Australia.
However, with the first test against the world’s top-ranked side starting on Dec. 6, the move does rob the fast bowlers of match practice.
Cummins said the decision came as a result of a joint-agreement between Cricket Australia’s medical staff, coaches, selectors and the players themselves.
“I think Josh, Starcy and I are all going to rest up this Shield game and be right to go in Adelaide,” Cummins told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.
“Ideally, it would be nice to maybe sneak in another bowl, it’s about a 16-day gap, but that Shield game (at Perth Stadium) is probably a bit too close to the test match.
“Just in case you’re out in the field for two or three days and suddenly have a quick turnaround.”
Cummins and Hazlewood managed to stay fit for all five tests during their Ashes triumph over England last year and their fitness will be crucial for the hosts in their quest to topple India.
“All we can do is try to get ourselves in the best position,” Cummins said.
“I feel like we’ve done that, especially Joshy and I — we’ve had six months off — a little bit of cricket recently but basically six months of getting our bodies right, getting really fresh and making sure when that first test comes that we’re flat out and ready for a long summer.
“I couldn’t be happier with where I am, and I think the other boys are the same. There’s no real niggles or anything we’re worried about. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully, we don’t spend five days in the field every test, get through them all.”
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien