Australia seeking momentum for Ashes on Caribbean tour

Australia will resist the temptation to tinker with their team on tour against West Indies and plan to field their best 11 in a bid to sweep the two-test series and build momentum for the Ashes, selector Rod Marsh has said.

Reuters| Updated: Mar 31, 2015, 12:55 PM IST
Australia seeking momentum for Ashes on Caribbean tour

MELBOURNE: Australia will resist the temptation to tinker with their team on tour against West Indies and plan to field their best 11 in a bid to sweep the two-test series and build momentum for the Ashes, selector Rod Marsh has said.

Australia`s attention has turned to dominating with the red ball after storming to their fifth World Cup win on Sunday, and selectors sprung a few surprises in their 17-man squad for the tours to the Caribbean and England in June and July.

Uncapped legspinner Fawad Ahmed and veteran batsman Adam Voges will be on the plane, with paceman Josh Hazlewood preferred to Pat Cummins.

Marsh dismissed the idea that Australia might keep their powder dry for a big push against traditional rivals England, who defeated them 3-0 on tour in 2013 before suffering a 5-0 reverse in the return series Down Under.

"I think it`s dangerous to look at it that way," Marsh told reporters.

"We want to win those two test matches... We`ll be fielding our best side to win the two test matches. I haven`t even spoken to (coach) Darren (Lehmann) about that but I know that`s the way he operates.

"It`ll be nice to win 2-0 there and win the first three test matches in England.

"They`re pretty strong at home. We always seem to struggle against them, in recent years anyway, in England.

"It`ll be a fascinating series because we`ve got a couple of young blokes who are starting to play pretty well at the top of the order.

"We`ve got a couple of old heads that would dearly love to win the series and we`ve got a couple of young fast bowlers that are not bad either."

Marsh endorsed Michael Clarke`s deputy Steve Smith as a permanent number three in the Australian batting order, which would mean moving all-rounder Shane Watson down the order as was done during the World Cup.

Mitchell Marsh, in the team that defeated India 2-0 in the recent home test series, was preferred as a second all-rounder, meaning no place for James Faulkner or the explosive Glenn Maxwell.

Hazlewood, who starred in Australia`s World Cup quarter-final win over Pakistan, has also retained his place and will join player of the tournament Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle in the pace brigade.

Marsh said Hazlewood had the potential to be "McGrath-like", a reference to Australia`s most feared fast bowler of the modern era, Glenn McGrath.

"The World Cup proved (Hazlewood) was a terrific bowler and personally, I think he`ll be a terrific bowler in England," Marsh said.