Former Australian Cricket captain Allan Border. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu
Questioning Australia’s decision not to play any warm-up games ahead of the World Test Championship final against India and the Ashes series, former captain Allan Border said the move was “fraught with danger”.
The WTC final is scheduled to be held at The Oval in London from June 7-11, followed by Australia taking on arch-rivals England in the five-match Ashes from June 16 to July 31.
The Australian team will prepare for the six Tests by undergoing a high-intensity training camp in Beckenham, featuring centre-wicket training and net sessions. “I don’t care how hard you work in the nets, there’s no substitute for game time,” said Border’ Fox Cricket‘.
“It just doesn’t feel right not to play any cricket leading into an Ashes series. I just think that’s fraught with danger… there’s something gnawing at me saying it’s the wrong decision,” he added.
The Indian team will also not play any warm-up games as the English County Championship is on and the WTC is an ICC event, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is under no obligation to arrange practice matches for visiting teams.
However, it is the first time in Ashes history that the men from ‘Down Under’ will not face any local county side before or during the tour of England this winter. Even before the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India earlier this year, Australia opted for simulation training instead of playing warm-up games. The visitors lost the fixture 1-2.
“I’m really surprised that we’re just allowing the Ashes tour to be so condensed that there’s no cricket in between games, but that’s the way it is. I understand, we’ve got IPLs and T20s, I understand. The game moves on. But I think there’s an opportunity there for us to go to England early and play a few games… just to get things right,” Border added.
To ensure England’s Test players are available for The Hundred tournament, which is set to start in early August, the ECB is cramming the Ashes into a six-week window.
While the likes of Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Marcus Harris are playing in the County Championship, Indian players are heading to England after completing their IPL stints.
Other members of Australia’s Test squad recently completed a three-day training camp in Brisbane and will head to England later this week.