THE first Test of the Ashes is still more than six months away but the sledging has already begun.
Former Test opener Ed Cowan does not rate England as a Test outfit and has high hopes for Australia’s pace attack.
“Absolutely,” Cowan said when asked if Australia had a chance at this summer’s Ashes on FoxSportsNews500’s Bill and Boz Show, “England are not a very good team. They’ve got four good players I reckon.”
This summer’s Ashes could see all four of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson feature in the same Test XI.
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All four men have impressed at Test level and all four bowl at speeds upwards of 140km/h. However, due to frustrating and lengthy injury spells suffered by both Cummins and Pattinson it has never been possible to play all four quicks in the same XI.
They are all fit right now and have been selected for next month’s Champions Trophy. There’s still a long time to go before Ashes hostilities commence, but if they all stay healthy then Cowan believes Australia will boast its best pace attack in a decade.
“We’re going to have the best fast bowling attack Australia’s seen since (Glenn) McGrath, (Brett) Lee and (Jason) Gillespie all bowled together.”
And that attack may get a crack at England’s batsmen before the Ashes begin, with Australia to play Eoin Morgan’s men at the Champions Trophy on June 10 at Edgbaston.
It’s a tournament Cowan has tipped Chris Lynn to star at, dubbing the right-hander one of the best white-ball cricketers in the world.
Due to a string of shoulder injuries, Lynn has only played one one-day international for Australia. In fact, when he was selected in Australia’s 15-man Champions Trophy squad he was nursing a shoulder injury — he dislocated his left shoulder while fielding for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League in April.
The Queenslander has since returned to playing duties for Kolkata, belting a 22-ball 50 against Bangalore in his first game back on Monday (AEST) and Cowan believes he will be similarly destructive at the Champions Trophy.
“He hits it as hard as anyone in world cricket,” Cowan said, “(A) phenomenal talent. I’d say one of the best white ball cricketers in the world.
“We’re only going to hear more of him. (At the) Champions Trophy, I think that is going to be the moment that Chris Lynn announces himself to international cricket. (On) small grounds in England – not that he needs small grounds – he can half hit them and they’ll be 50 rows back.”