Ashes 2017/18: Steven Smith, Darren Lehmann Eye Shield Games to Finalize Ashes Squad
The Australian players who haven’t performed up to scratch in the last few months or so will be looking to force their way into the team for the Ashes scheduled from November.
Almost all players in the international scheme of things will be taking part in the Sheffield Shield games, and captain Steven Smith and coach Darren Lehmann will be the attentive observers ahead of the Magellan Ashes.
Smith will be returning to the field after missing out the T20I series against India after sustaining a shoulder injury. He will be leading the New South Wales for the season opener against South Australia which will be played at the Adelaide Oval from Friday. Coach Lehmann, on the other hand, will keep an eye on the players who will be pressing for a place for the 1st Ashes Test starting on 23rd November.
The home team have rarely enjoyed a full Sheild session ahead of the Ashes which will be a major boost to them and which will also help them to finalise their squad keeping in mind the form of the players.
“I’m always paying attention to domestic cricket, looking at guys in different ways, looking at guys that go well in tough situations,” Smith was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au after he returned to full training after recovering from a shoulder injury which he sustained during the ODI series in India.
“I think that’s a great character, you like seeing those characters that do things when the chips are down as such. If the whole team gets out and there’s someone there 60 not out on a green seamer that has done the hard yards and found a way to get through difficult situations, I think they’re almost sometimes more important than the guy that goes out and gets a hundred on a flat wicket.”
Coach Darren Lehmann conceded the fact that this is the team’s best lead up to an Ashes which might also help them thrash the English side just like the way they have done it for the last two Ashes in Australia.
“It’s their best lead-in for an Ashes, I think, we’ve ever had,” Lehmann said. We had two (preparatory Shield) games in the last Ashes series and here we’ve got three invaluable (games) now.
“Everyone will get a good opportunity to acclimatise to the different wickets coming back from the India one-day series or the Bangladesh Test series (last September) straight into three rounds of Shield cricket.(It’s) high quality, everyone available to play, so the best result for us in our progression,” he added.
Lehmann stated that he doesn’t get to see the domestic players as much as he wants so the mini-break to watch the JLT Cup is the perfect example to get a glimpse of the next generation of Aussie players who are pushing to play for the national team.
“I don’t get to see the domestic cricketers as much as I would like,” Lehmann said. It’s been great having a mini-break to actually watch the JLT (Cup) for example and get around and see the next generation and the younger guys that are pushing to play for Australia.
“So, it’s how they get them, when they get them, the match situation, all that comes into it and then you form an opinion from there.”
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