Former England captain Nasser Hussain opined that the English batsmen might be short on confidence coming into the series but the Australian pitches have generally been a great place to bat on.
Hussain pointed out that none of them, apart from skipper Joe Root and Ben Stokes, have the mindset necessary to dig in and grind out big hundreds. The upcoming series will be a trial by fire and a failure in the very first Test could well mean a long tour for the visitors.
“Other than Root and to an extent Ben Stokes, England’s batsmen have not had the mindset of getting big first-innings runs and big hundreds. The top three of Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed, and Dawid Malan must go really big now.”
“This Australia team have a formidable attack but it really is a great place to bat. The pitches are good, the outfields quick and they have good ‘seeing’ grounds. The nets are brilliant for preparation and the Kookaburra ball should go soft quickly. The England batsmen should have no fear about what awaits them,” Hussain wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.
Nasser Hussain outlines one way to utilize Jack Leach in the team
England’s premier off-spinner in Tests, Jack Leach, is very likely to be in the playing XI unless England opts to go in with four-seamers. Although the surfaces in Australia do allow the pacers to thrive, there needs to be some variation in the bowling attack and that’s where Leach can come in, as per Nasser Hussain.
“In England, after say 70 overs, the Dukes is usually still swinging and you can stick to Plan A but in other parts of the world, you need something else up your sleeve. That is when Root needs extra pace or spin and he will need those in Australia too. Jack Leach could be used in a defensive way in the first innings to rest the seamers and then in an attacking role second time round,” Hussain further added.
The English squad named for the first Test is perhaps their strongest one with the exception of pace bowler, James Anderson, who has been ruled out with an injury.