Former Australian captain Allan Border expressed concern about the team’s choice to forego playing warm-up matches in front of two major red-ball contests—the ICC World Test Championship Final and The Ashes series.
Border was concerned that the time spent practising on the nets wouldn’t be enough to prepare the team for the next series. He stressed the need of playing warm-up games before going into the series.
Border expressed his belief that despite putting in hard work during practice sessions, nothing can substitute the experience gained from actual match play. He expressed surprise at the condensed schedule of the Ashes tour, with no cricket matches scheduled between games. Border acknowledged the influence of IPLs and T20s on the cricketing landscape, recognizing that the game has evolved. However, he saw a potential opportunity for the team to travel to England ahead of time and engage in a few matches to fine-tune their skills.
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Expressing his sentiments, the individual highlighted that the absence of cricket matches prior to an Ashes series doesn’t sit well with him. He strongly believed that such a decision carries inherent risks and expressed an unsettling feeling that it is the wrong choice. Additionally, he expressed concern regarding the Australian team’s decision in this regard.
The Australian legend was particularly wary since Pat Cummins’s squad hadn’t played in four months. They hadn’t won a red-ball series in England since 2001.
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Border mentioned that during their time, they had a packed schedule with two three-day games between Test matches and even played the day after a Test match. Despite the demanding itinerary, no one suffered any severe consequences or injuries. In fact, everyone had a great time and enjoyed themselves. Border expressed that it was a fantastic experience as it allowed players to rest and provided opportunities for individuals to regain their form. However, Border acknowledged that such extended periods away from home are not common in modern times.
The Ashes series will begin on June 16 at Edgbaston in Birmingham, while the ICC World Test Championship Final between the Pat Cummins-led team and India will take place on June 7 at The Oval in London. Additionally, some of the players are now participating in the IPL 2023 in order to be ready for the playoffs, while others, like Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, have been playing the County Championship.