England may reject Aussie plan for Ashes preparation

May 28th, 2009 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, May 28 (IANS) Ricky Ponting’s plans to field an extra player in Australia’s two Ashes warm-up matches can go up in smoke with England reportedly opposed to the idea.
England is unlikely to allow Ponting play an extra man in both games as he seeks to give returning quicks Brett Lee and Stuart Clark a chance for the Test selection.

Ponting said it was crucial to gauge the form of his pace attack in both four-dayers to help pick a side for the first Test in Cardiff, which starts July 8, Herald Sun reported Thursday.

As a result, Cricket Australia (CA) wanted England to grant permission to field 12 players against Sussex and England Lions.

According to English newspaper The Guardian, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is likely to risk an Ashes row by refusing the request. However, the ECB is set to offer a compromise.

Australia would be allowed to field extra men in the initial warm-up game against Sussex at Hove, starting June 24, but it must play a regular 11-a-side match against the Lions at Worcester from July 1, the report said.

The compromise would mirror England’s preparations for the last Ashes series in Australia in 2006-07 when it played 14 in its opening tour game against New South Wales but then played with 11 against South Australia.

England also had a one-day match against the Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra before the first Test in Brisbane.

Left-arm Australian spearhead Mitchell Johnson is the only pacer guaranteed a place in Cardiff on what is expected to be a spin-friendly pitch.

With Lee (foot and ankle) and Clark (elbow) returning from international layoffs, the selectors face a difficult task in sorting out the best attack particularly after the South African success of Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus.

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