Former Australian coach Darren Lehmann has questioned why Australia are once gain opting not to take part in a tour match ahead of the Test Championship final and the Ashes. Australia and Pat Cummins' men came under heavy scrutiny during their recent tour of India after opting no to take part in a warm-up match.
This saw the team lose the opening two Test matches and surrender the Border-Gavaskar trophy, before bouncing back and saving pride with a 2-1 series loss. Michael Clarke was one of the biggest critics when it came to the tour preparations as he called out Cricket Australia (CA) for the organisation of the tour.
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On Tuesday, Aussie captain Pat Cummins spoke for the first time since leaving the India Tour after the devastating loss of his mother Maria, who lost her battle with breast cancer in March. During the interview, he spoke of player burnout and how we was mentally exhausted after committing to so many tournaments around the world.
"Cricket's basically 12 months of the year; there's always a cricket game going on somewhere, and I played non-stop for a year or two," Cummins told WeAre8's 'Get Real with Rio'. "This is about four or five years ago, (when) I kind of just came back from injuries.
"And I was just spent, like burnout and I just remember thinking 'geez I'm 25 here but I want to do this until I'm 35' I've got to find a way to balance all these different things."
While Cummins has raised the concerns over the year-round cricket schedule for Test players, Australia will reportedly start their tour of the UK ahead of the Test Championship final and the Ashes with a golf trip to the Merseyside.
Darren Lehmann questions lack of Ashes tour game
The players will have a training centre with a centre-wicket and nets as they prepare for India at The Oval on 7 June, before the Ashes starts on 16 June. And former Aussie coach Lehman does not believe skipping a warm-up match bodes well for Cummins' men.
“You need games to acclimatise first and foremost,” Lehmann told SEN. “To get used to the ball and wickets and pressure. No tour game is not a good idea.
"I hope it works but if it doesn’t, ‘who made that decision’ will be asked. I think we win The Ashes anyway 3-1 but if we don’t, wow.”
For the first time ever the Australians won't be playing a warm-up tour match across the Ashes series. In fact, Australia has not played a tour match in nearly four years as the Test schedule is bookmarked with international tournaments.
According to national selector George Bailey, this is the norm for the modern international player. "It feels like this is becoming the norm for Test tours, around tour games,” he said recently.
“It feels like there’s more tours that you don’t have a tour match than when you do, so our team’s reasonably well prepared in terms of knowing what you need outside of those tours and the opportunities that may have happened on past tours.”
Australia has a number of players already over in the UK playing County cricket to prepare for the Test Championship final and the Ashes. Steve Smith, Marnus Labsuchagne and Marcus Harris.
A number of players will be coming from the Indian Premier League, including David Warner, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh. They will join the rest of the squad later in May.
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