Doing their respective pre-match analysis, former cricketers Nasser Hussain and Jason Gillespie shared different point of views regarding today’s high octane clash between England and Australia at the Lord’s.
The former English captain stressed that England batsmen will have to change their way of playing and adopt the Australian kind of batting that is to not go mad at the top and score at a vigorous rate in the middle overs. For him at the top, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are lethal al the top but there’s no one to follow them. He wrote in Daily Mail, “England have the opportunity to attack Australia’s back-up bowlers. At the top they are excellent. Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are as good as it gets, and England will have to be switched on, but after that how good are they? I am not sure.”
However, in the middle overs, other than Adam Zampa, Hussain doesn’t feel any other Australian bowler should be notorious to the Eoin Morgan-led side. Thus the middle overs will hold the key for the hosts, according to him. “Should spinner Adam Zampa be threatening them? There’s one opportunity for them. Then, there’s Maxwell and Stoinis — someone who at times looks like the perfect all-rounder and at others like he’s a bits-and-pieces cricketer filling in. England have to go hard during this period, not least because Starc is brilliant at the death,” Hussain added, not forgetting to mention the brilliance of Starc in the death overs also.
Writing about England’s lack of intent in some matches, Hussain doesn’t owe it to complacency. But for him, it’s about how the team cope from game to game. He believes the world number one ODI team, who have not lost a single series in the last two years or so, require a different approach towards pressure handling in the World Cup. “In a tournament, you are more than likely to have a hiccup or two. Now is the time to go again. How did they get to No 1 in the world? Well, when they lost a bilateral game, they didn’t change the way they played unless conditions dictated,” he added.
On the other hand, for the former Australian pacer Jason Gillespie has been much more clinical in his analysis for the same platform, picking up the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. He believes the unshakeable belief that England posses, despite losing few games, is their biggest asset in this tournament, while for Australia it’s their quality to adapt fast to any condition. According to him, despite running into the mid-stages of the tournament, both sides have considerable grounds to cover when it comes about improvement.
For him wherever the conditions have not supported England’s power game with the bat, the hosts have suffered. He wrote, “Can they adapt to situations when they are not in their favour? We saw against Sri Lanka last Friday that they can struggle on a slower pitch and they have to show more of the adaptability that we have seen from Australia.” The Aaron Finch-led unit have been going through a lot of changes in the playing eleven and it might hurt the team in an important juncture of the mega event if they don’t get a stable side, felt Gillespie. Talking on the same note of Hussain, he said other than the big two (Starc and Cummins) Australia lack good bowlers for the middle overs. “It could be argued there’s not great depth to the Australian seam attack after the big two. England could go after Nathan Coulter-Nile, if he’s the third seamer, and the spinner,” he pointed.
Hussain was of the view that the current England team have moved way ahead of their predecessors, who stood by a fear factor against Australia, and play fearless cricket against their arch-rivals. He could not be more apt at a time when the ‘Three Lions’ have defeated Australia in nine of the last 10 ODIs they have played against each other. But for Gillespie, the team that manage the expectations will prevail and against Australia the home team would have to tackle their greatest mental challenge of the tournament so far. However, to conclude the former Australian pacer reminded the ball-tampering duo of David Warner and Steve Smith that Lord’s will not be kind to them.