Former Indian player Sridharan Sriram has said that he will keep an eye on the India-England Test series to analyse their opponents’ performance ahead of the Ashes. Sriram also hailed Tim Paine's leadership and recalled on how he regrouped the Australian players and won fans' support back.
The 2021 Ashes will be hosted by Australia with the five-match series beginning on December 8 in Brisbane. Australia are the current holder of the urn after they drew 2-2 in England in 2019. England will play India at home in a five-match Test series before they play Australia in the traditional tournament, which would be their only Test before the series.
Australia’s spin bowling coach Sridharan Sriram said that he will be observing the England-India Test series as a preparation measure for Ashes. Sriram pointed that England will have the same squad that played the 2019 Ashes and their performance against India will be a blueprint for Australia.
“Even in the England-India series, how Shami or Bumrah bowls to Stokes, Burns, Root, the lengths they bowl, their release points, so many things to keep our eye on. With so many leagues going on, you can pick up any strategy and try to replicate it,” Sriram told News18.com.
“What we learned from the 2019 Ashes in England, the plans that worked against individual players will come in handy. England will have more or less the same core group comprising Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Butler, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Jimmy Anderson, and Jack Leach. With respect to our players, it is about identifying what our best combination should be and preparing individually, he added.
The Ashes will be played shortly after the T20 World Cup, which is Cricket Australia’s foremost concern and their schedule itself speaks for them. Australia does not have enough Tests before Ashes, with the focus shifted on T20 preparations. According to their calendar, they will play a solitary Test against Afghanistan in November end, whereas England will have played up to 12 Tests before the first Test.
“Australia would have hardly played a Test match whereas England would have played 12 Test matches from the time Australia last played a Test. I think both have advantages and disadvantages. From Australia’s perspective, preparations have already started with the background work, data analysis. I know that Tim Paine has started working on leadership."
The infamous sandpaper incident in Cape Town saw the rise of Tim Paine as the new Test captain and the Tasmania player has tasted his own shares of controversies and criticism on the field, the recent one where he failed to win against India had forced many of his critics to demand his sacking as the team’s skipper. But Sriram has called Paine an outstanding leader who has regrouped the players and regained the fans’ support after the Cape Town row.
“Paine has been an outstanding leader. Communication is his biggest strength. The way he communicates with the players, the coaches, the bowlers, he is very open and receptive to plans from coaches. The way he has handled Smith and Warner after they came back into the team and also the way he has handled the bowlers has been outstanding. Langer and Paine share a rapport with each other and that is their great accomplishment,” Sriram asserted.
“After the Cape Town incident, the opinion of the general public about the team had taken a bit of a jolt. To have the Australians support their team again, bringing the people back their team, to make the Australians proud of the way the team played – these have been a big part of the journey,” he added.