Ian Healy smacks down England over staggering Ashes move: 'No need for that'
The Aussie cricket great has responded to reports of a devious move from the Poms.
Ian Healy has slapped down England's reported plans to bring in the boundaries for the Ashes Test matches in an attempt to promote their 'Baz-ball' approach. According to The Times in the UK, England have inquired about bringing in the boundaries at the five Ashes venues in a bid to make the playing field smaller and produce more sixes.
England have been playing an up-tempo brand of cricket over the last 12 months, with new coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes ushering in the 'Baz-ball' era - named after 'Baz' McCullum. But England are reportedly looking at how they can fuel their high scoring cricket even further, and want to make the grounds smaller for a blockbuster series against Australia.
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The shortest boundary at the five Ashes venues is just 60 metres at Edgbaston - where the first Test will be played on June 16. England's grounds are much smaller than those in Australia, with the MCG boasting an 84-metre boundary.
According to ICC regulations, boundaries can be no shorter than 59 metres, and can't be more than 10 yards (nine metres) away from where the stands start. If England have their way, there might be a few more 59-metre boundaries in action during the Ashes.
But according to Aussie great Healy, the only thing reducing the boundaries will do is cause an unwanted distraction. “Boundaries are the least of their worries. Why would they bother?” he said on SEN radio. “There’s no need for that.
“Mis-hits will go for six, but that’s okay. Lots of modern-day mishits go for six anyway. I don’t feel that’s anything but clogging up your mind and overthinking too badly.
“But they would know we’re going to bounce them. We’re coming at their armpits and their chest logos. So get your chest guards on. They’re going to make those square of the wicket boundaries a little bit shorter so a mishit pull or hook… might carry.”
Former Aussie captain Michael Clarke also shot down the proposal on Monday, saying: “What a load of junk. Australian grounds are twice the size of England grounds anyway. That’s why there’s less sixes from the Australian players.
"Bat at the MCG you’ve got 90-metre boundaries, bat in England you’ve got 60-metre boundaries. Who cares? Both teams have got to bat.”
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Over the last 12 months, England have hit more sixes in Test cricket than any other country with 86, while Australia have only hit 32. India (58), New Zealand (56), Sri Lanka (56), Pakistan (38) and the West Indies (37) have all hit more than the Aussies.
Stokes revealed last month that he'd called on curators around England to produce fast and flat wickets that will promote scoring in the Ashes. "We've been very clear with the groundstaff around England about what type of wickets we want and they've been very responsive to us, which is good," the captain said on Sky Sports. "We want fast, flat wickets. We want to go out there and score quickly.
"I'm smiling because I'm looking forward to it. There's no point changing just because we're coming into an Ashes series. Every player knows the Ashes is where everything ramps up a bit - pressure, exposure, all kinds of stuff - but we'll just keep sticking to what we do.
"Hold me to it - every game I play this summer will be to produce a result. I'm not going to change anything just because it's the Ashes. I'm not going to change for anything or any situation, because then I'm not being true to myself and what I've done over the last year."
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