Australian selector Mark Waugh believes Australia’s away series against India has been a little too long, especially with the Ashes with over a month away. The domestic season also had a late start with some of the top guns still in India for the series which ends tomorrow (October 13). But the Aussies will have very little time to relax with the Sheffield Shield starting from October 26. The players must take these three Shield games seriously because the board has clearly said that top performers will get into the playing XI against England.
Waugh spoke to Sky Sports Radio on Thursday. He said, “It’s not an ideal time to be away from home. This series has been a little too long. It’d have been better if it was shorter, say maybe a week or two. The players are used to this hectic schedule. For the whole thing, they have to travel to eight different places. So, that’s a lot of travelling. But they’re coping well I think.
The former Aussie skipper believes that present skipper Steve Smith going back home early in the India series is a blessing in disguise. He said, “Steve’s going back was probably a good thing. He’ll now be fresh for the Ashes as he’s had a heavy workload like the others. But we’ll be alright”.
The question of most curiosity amongst the Australian supporters is who will be no. 6 in the side. To this question, Waugh replied, “We’re looking for someone who can bowl a little but batting is the main priority. I wouldn’t say we want an all-rounder at number 6. I’d say we want a batting all-rounder at that position”.
The biggest question mark over Australia’s Test line-up is the No.6 position with allrounders Hilton Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis seen as the frontrunners. Specialist batsmen Travis Head, Nic Maddinson and Kurtis Pattersoncould also be in the reckoning if they perform well in the Shield.
Waugh revealed selectors were hoping to fill the No.6 position with a batsman who can bowl part-time. “The No.1 priority is batting,” he said. “I’m not calling it an allrounder. It’s probably more a batting allrounder.”