adjustments we need to make
Our ODI cricket has been a big focus. But it’s meant that we haven’t played much red-ball cricket at all in recent times.
The last time we played red-ball cricket was against Sri Lanka back at the start of the year. That might make it a bit harder to get back in the swing. And that’s the challenge we’ve got in front of us.
For us batsmen, there are a few shots you need to add or take out of your repertoire, largely because the fields are set differently in each form of cricket.
You’re fending off to third man in white-ball cricket whereas in red-ball cricket there’s always a gully. With the white ball, it generally stops swinging after a few overs, unlike the red ball which can swing long into the innings and even then start reverse swinging.
Also, the pitches tend to play a bit differently between the forms of the game because they are prepared differently.
These are among the changes you need to adapt to quickly if you’re going to successfully transition between ODI and Test cricket. It’s about getting into a slightly different rhythm and doing it quick-smart.
But, I think, the biggest challenge in terms of adjustment is mental. If you can settle your mindset quickly, then the physical stuff won’t affect you as much. If your mind is in the right place, the tightening up of your technique for Test cricket tends to happen quite naturally.
Overall, transitioning between three forms of the game is just part and parcel of being an international cricketer these days. The modern player has to be able to deal with the changes of tempo, field settings, conditions, the ball and other things because there’s so much cricket being played worldwide.
Most of the guys are used to it and the reality is that it’s the same for everyone. There are plenty of players in the Australian and England teams who played in the World Cup and now have to go straight into an Ashes series.
From my perspective, as a batter, whatever form of the game you’re playing, your job is to score runs, even if it means going about it in a slightly different way.
Since the World Cup, there haven’t been any outings or official duties; it’s just been about working as much as we can to get ourselves into the best position before the Ashes starts.
One thing that does get talked about a lot when Australia plays in England is the ball. There is certainly a different look and feel to the Dukes ball, compared to the Kookaburras we use in Australia. And they do react differently.
I’ve found, with the Dukes ball, sometimes it feels solid and comes off the bat really well and does nothing through the air. Yet, on other days, generally when it’s overcast, it can do a lot and feel more difficult to get away. However, in some ways, it’s just a reflection of the unpredictability that comes with playing in England.
Naturally, the guys in our team haven’t played with the Dukes ball as much as the English lads. But pretty much everyone in our side has played a fair bit of cricket in England.
We’ve all played County cricket or been on previous Ashes tours. As such, there shouldn’t be any surprises or excuses when it comes to using the different ball.
The same can be said for the wickets over here. Pitches here are usually a bit softer than what we play on at home. Again, we’re all used to it.
You can make a big thing out of the differences between playing in Australia and England. But rather than see it as a drawback or a negative, I like to see it as part of the beauty of our game.
These kinds of slight adjustments you need to make are part of the great test of cricket, another aspect of the game to try and master. Experience brings knowledge and confidence around these challenges.
test of character
There’s nothing like Ashes cricket. I’ve been part of three Ashes series now. I made my debut in the last Ashes Test in 2011, in Sydney. Then I was over here in 2013 and back home for the 2017 series, which we won.
Winning an Ashes series was something I’d wanted to do from my earliest days playing cricket and, to be part of that team – it was on my birthday, too – was an unreal feeling. The next frontier is to win it in England, which we haven’t done for a long time.
It goes without saying we’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us if we’re going to be successful. Test cricket is always hard and, no doubt, England will be on a high after winning the World Cup.
They’ve got Jimmy Anderson coming back in, a great bowler for a long time, Broady too … There will be plenty to challenge us and that’s why we love Test cricket and love playing in England.
Bouncing back from the World Cup into a series packed with history and tradition, dealing with the changes of format and conditions, those slight differences you have to get your head around – it’s a real test of character and technique and we’re all looking forward to it.