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.

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing