Resurrection of new-ball pairing is fanciful

Excellent piece by Alex Brown in tomorrow’ Sydney Morning Herald, in which he talks about Jason Gillespie’s recall and the tantalising prospect of his return to taking the new ball with Glenn McGrath. Brown is insistent that this won’t (and shouldn’t?) happen. I’ve been murmuring about Australia’s fast-bowling problems for a few months now, and remain convinced that serious problems exist. Stuart Clark has done exceptionally well, and has improved rapidly – and that after his debut game in which he took nine wickets. He is, though, no sping chicken.

Which is why, as I keep saying, the performance of Mitchell Johnson will be so fascinating to watch. He’s young, raw, very fast and a left-armer. Ingredients, you might argue, that might very quickly earn him the new ball with Brett Lee if he’s successful against Bangladesh. If if if. He’s clearly being weened into Test cricket in preparations for the Ashes, while Gillespie’s recall is more of a “well, maybe your Pura Cup form might help dissipate your nightmares of the Ashes”. I’m less convinced that he can be a force again.

But any thoughts of McGrath and Gillespie returning to lead the attack in a throwback to a golden period of Australian cricket would seem unrealistic, however nice an image it may be for the romantics. Certainly, both are still capable of making a telling contribution to an Australian attack, however the new ball appears to have been passed on.

Brown also talks about McGrath’s requirement of a heavy workload, which is a not-often discussed aspect of his bowling. The other day, it was mentioned that he is considering a county stint. Assuming his wife regains her health, I would find it surprising if he didn’t play a month or six weeks of county cricket; how else is he going to get his bowling legs back, otherwise?

Very very interesting times ahead for Austalia’s bowlers.

Comments are closed.