The Australian cricket team is getting ready for the Ashes 2019. However, Australia’s left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc is doubtful for the first Test of the Ashes 2019.
On Thursday (1st August), the hosts England and the visitors Australia will start their journey in the Ashes 2019 at Edgbaston (Birmingham). Australia will play this five-match Test series as the defending champions who won the Ashes 2017/18 at home. However, since 2005, England has won all of their home Ashes series. So, the Australian side is desperate to finish their away Ashes series drought.
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After some recent great performances, many believe that Australia can win the Ashes 2019.
Ahead of the Edgbaston Test, the Australian head coach Justin Langer has spoken about the predicted Australian playing XI.
Usman Khawaja, who missed the 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup semi-final against England due to a hamstring injury, is ready to play in the first Test. Langer has claimed that fit-Khawaja will definitely play at the no.3 batting position in the first Test.
Langer said, “Usman Khawaja will definitely be in, he’s fit, ready to go, he’s playing well. He’s a seasoned pro for us, he averages 40-odd in Test cricket, his hammy’s good, he’s running well, he’s passed all the fitness tests so he’s ready to go. He’ll bat No. 3.”
Usman Khawaja also missed Australia’s recent intra-squad match at Southampton where Hick XII beat Haddin XII by five wickets.
Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood are fighting for one spot
Langer added, “Like in all these selections, there’s literally a case for 17 blokes to play. The opening partnership’s going to be really tough, between Cameron and Marcus Harris, really hard. They’ve both got a really strong case, and then the fast bowling spots. There’s probably three to be fair, Starcy, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood, for one spot.”
The left-arm pacer Starc was the leading wicket-taker in the recently concluded 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Though Australia finished their 2019 CWC journey in the semi-final, Starc created a record by taking most wickets (27 wickets) in a single CWC edition.
However, Josh Hazlewood, who missed the entire 2019 CWC, is likely standing ahead in this fight.
James Pattinson’s comeback is a great story – Justin Langer
Meanwhile, Langer has given a strong hint on James Pattinson’s inclusion in the playing XI for the Edgbaston Test. The 29-year-old right-arm pacer Pattinson played his last Test in February 2016. Recently, he has earned the Test call-up after some brilliant performances in domestic and English County cricket.
Langer said about Pattinson, “Just a very, very good bowler. I’m sure Painey will work out ways of using him, it’s just nice to see him back, it’s a great story isn’t it, coming back from where he was as a young bowler, the back surgeries, to more than likely being selected for this Test match, it’s a great story.”
The co-vice-captain Pat Cummins is likely to lead Australia’s pace bowling attack. The 26-year-old is the present no.1-ranked Test bowler, and in the Ashes 2019, he will fight to retain this spot against the no.2-ranked Test bowler James Anderson (England).