Australia likely to trim Ashes squad to 13

December 29th, 2008 - 7:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Dec 29 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) is contemplating to cut down its touring party to England for the 2009 Ashes.After scrapping the conventional Ashes squad from 17 to 16 members, CA is all set to bring it down to 13 as it loath to have up to three tourists on the sidelines and starved of cricket.

Up to four back-up players — most likely a batsman, fast-bowler, spinner and ‘keeper — would be put on standby to come into the national team from their County or League sides to play in the tour games or replace injured players.

A CA source said last week the size of the touring party was yet to be settled, with a decision unlikely to be made before the middle of next month.

“The make-up of that squad is in the air,” he was quoted as saying in The Australian.”It could be anywhere from 13 to 16 in that group.”

He said fringe players might be better served playing County or League cricket than biding their time with the touring squad.

“Why would you have 15 or 16 there when they’re just going to be carrying bags or sitting watching the blokes in the nets?

If the party were trimmed to 13 the selectors would give a “heads up to three or four (players) to get themselves over there and place themselves somewhere nearby”.

Australia were caught out by a lack of preparation in their disastrous 2005 Ashes tour, when they played a sole three-day match, after a number of one-dayers, before the Test series.

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