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Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc given no excuses by coach Andrew McDonald ahead of Ashes opener


The heat is on Australia’s vaunted pace battery ahead of the Ashes, with the trio given “no excuses” despite having played no red-ball cricket in more than six months.

With the series opener less than two weeks away, Australia’s bowling coach Andrew McDonald is expecting newly installed Test skipper Pat Cummins, as well as Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, to hit the ground running at the Gabba.

“I think we’ve made the best of what we’ve had,” McDonald told reporters on Sunday.

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“It was always going to be a shortened prep, and less than ideal switching formats and quarantine and all that stuff. But I think the art of the modern-day cricketer is to be able to adapt to that.

“There’ll be no excuses from our end and I’m sure there’ll be no excuses from England’s end either.”

While the trio will have the added wrinkle of leadership commitments with Cummins’ appointment, McDonald doesn’t see the captaincy becoming a burden.

“From a bowlers’ perspective, I’ll be plugging into Patty as I normally do,” he said.

“The conversations I’ll be having with Pat, they won’t be too dissimilar to what we normally do from a bowler-tactical point of view.

“I think the conversations that will probably significantly change will be from [head coach Justin Langer] to Pat. There’ll be more engagement there.”

Cummins has made it clear that he won’t be rotated out of the line-up, but with Starc and Hazlewood likely to be rested at times, McDonald is confident the likes of an in-form Jhye Richardson can pick up the slack if needed.

“There’s no doubt (Richardson) will be putting some pressure (on the selectors) across the summer, whether it’s in the first Test or later on,” he said.

“And you throw in Michael Neser, who’s been on the cusp over the last couple of seasons.

“Not many people are talking about him at the moment, but that’s purely because he’s had a bit of a hamstring strain. He’s returning and he’ll be fit and available.

“Across those five bowlers, we’ve got great depth, which is exciting.”

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