Cameron Green a key element in workload and rotation debate

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Justin Langer confident in Australia’s fast-bowling depth if reinforcements are needed

Cameron Green‘s role with the ball shapes a crucial part of Australia’s Ashes plans both in terms of the workload of captain Pat Cummins and whether rotation of the other quicks will be needed during the series.

It is, though, unlikely that Australia will field the same fast-bowling trio through all five Tests meaning that Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc could be in line for a break during the series.

Last season, it was felt that the quicks had run out of steam by the final match against India although the first two games had been over in less than three and four days respectively.

Cummins’ position, as a rare fast-bowling captain, will be in the spotlight but he has shown remarkable durability since returning to Test cricket in 2017 and has missed just two matches.

Green was wicketless in his debut series against India last season while sending down 44 overs and his bowling numbers have blown out since having stress fractures of the back. However, even if he is not striking regularly, the ability to bowl 12-15 overs a day and not let the run rate get away will be vital – Green conceded 2.68 runs per over against India – while Marnus Labuschagne could also have a part to play.
“[Cummins] will be fine strategically, it will just be maintaining the balance of everything else that goes with his bowling load and then captaining and all the other commitments that come with it. So we’ll keep an eye on that,” Justin Langer said. “Cameron Green is going to be important there with his extra bowling that he can give. Marnus bowling some as well.”
Cummins has acknowledged that knowing when not to bowl himself, or to end a spell, could be among his tougher decisions. “I think that’s going to be one of the main things that I have to be aware of,” he said. “There’s a lot of experience in the side. Sometimes I might need to listen to what they’ve got to say more than what I’ve got to say myself.”
Langer, who said he knew the XI for the Gabba but would keep it under wraps, did not commit to the need to rotate the quick bowlers outside of injury problems but was confident in the depth in the squad. Jhye Richardson has been in impressive form this season for Western Australia with 23 wickets at 13.43 while Michael Neser is on track after a hamstring injury. Sean Abbott and Mark Steketee are also part of the Australia A squad.

“Last year there was a lot of discussion at the end of the India series,” Langer said. “We had some criticism that we used the same bowlers, but you can turn that on its head and say it’s actually a real credit to the bowlers who are so fit and the support staff that guys can get through four Tests and not break down. We’ll work through it. What I do know is we have a lot of talent and we keep seeing that.

“Jhye Richardson is in great nick, he’s bowled beautifully in Shield cricket. Michael Neser is coming back from his hamstring and he’s one of the heartbeats of the team.”

Asked whether Labuschagne’s medium pace, which has become more frequent in domestic cricket, could make an appearance, Langer said: “I’m very happy to see him bowl legspin at the moment…you never know, Matthew Wade bowled a few overs of seam up, but I like to see his leggies.”

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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