Sydney: The Australian media has outlined five `burning issues` facing the country`s cricket team, which is heading into the return Ashes series after suffering a 3-0 drubbing by England in the summer Ashes this year.
According to News.com.au, one of the issues facing the team is whether or not they can transition from playing in India in the ODIs in time for the Ashes as a month-long limited overs tour on the low, slow wickets of India is not an ideal preparation for an Ashes series.
The report further said that in contrast, England will enter next week`s pre-Ashes boot camp in high spirits and will have the benefit of tour games in Perth, Hobart and Sydney, whereas the hosts will have just two first-class games to prepare for the Ashes despite having a home advantage.
Picking out troubled batsman David Warner as the next major issue, the report said that even though Warner stunned the selectors with his Ryobi Cup century despite his on and off-field troubles, he is still a gamble, especially with the `bolter` option of Aaron Finch, who has been in brilliant form in recent limited-overs action for Australia
The report suggested that the unstable Test batting line-up as another big problem facing the Australians, especially the vacant No.6 spot, saying that even though the team may different than the last Test at The Oval, whoever misses out on the first Test faces a long wait with coach Darren Lehmann openly admitting he wants to `pick and stick`.
The report further said that the problem of the main spinner for the team is also a major one, with both Nathan Lyon and former Pakistani refugee Fawad Ahmed looking to be locked in a race with their individual performances, although they are facing the nightmare prospect of a four-pronged pace attack from England.
Even though Brad Haddin is the obvious candidate to lead Australia in the winter Ashes if regular captain Michael Clarke remains injured, it is still an open field with other senior and equally talented players, adding that although it would be a dangerous move to elevate Shane Watson to the post, the selectors may have to take the risk for success.