Australia admit 'concern' over batting after losses of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey

The Ashes in England is looming

Australia's chairman of selectors, John Inverarity, has admitted there is a "concern" over the lack of batting depth ahead of this summer's Ashes.

Inverarity was speaking after Australia released their list of 20 centrally contracted players. Only Michael Clarke, George Bailey, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, David Warner and Shane Watson feature as specialist batsmen.

The recent retirements of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey have left the Australians short of experience as they attempt to reclaim the urn after back-to-back Ashes defeats, and Inverarity admits the batting line-up is not as strong as it once was.

"There is a concern, I mean we do not have the batting depth now that we enjoyed seven or eight and 15 years ago, we just don't," he said. "And that's something that cricket in Australia really needs to address and we need to get more batsmen making runs prolifically."

Ponting brought the curtain down on a 168-Test career in November, while Hussey, who featured in the last three Ashes series, announced in December that he no longer wanted to play international cricket.

"The runs they made and the general confidence and leadership they showed, they are big losses," said Inverarity. "But that's life, people retire and move on and it's a new generation and it's a period of transition and there are opportunities, and we're looking to our young players to grasp those opportunities and to grow from them."

Australia's build-up to the Ashes, which begins at Trent Bridge on 10 July, has been far from ideal, as they slumped to a 4-0 series loss in India. Inverarity labelled the drubbing "poor" and "unacceptable" but is confident Michael Clarke's men will be better with both bat and ball in English conditions.

"I think our pace bowling is likely to be good, I think the wickets in England are likely to suit us more than they did in India... but we need to get greater stability and certainty in our top six," he said.

"We think with our battery of fast bowlers, with Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Ryan Harris, Jackson Bird, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus and others, we think that we can put three good pace bowlers on the park regularly and they can perform well."

Meanwhile, Australia fast-bowler Jackson Bird is hoping to play his way into Ashes contention with a stint in county cricket. The 26-year-old was a surprise omission from the list, with Harris and Patrick Cummins among those preferred by the selectors.

Bird took 11 wickets at 16.18 in two Tests against Sri Lanka this winter before succumbing to stress fractures of the back and returning home from the India tour.

"I would still love to play a part in the Ashes, nothing has changed from that point of view," said Bird. "I'm just going to focus on my rehab and focus on getting back on the park."

Bird's manager Tony Connelly is talking to several county sides, hoping to secure a short-team deal.

Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'


Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Life and Style

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Life and Style

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album