Australia have received a shot in the arm ahead of the Ashes as the team will be mentored by former skipper Steve Waugh during the series, Test captain Tim Paine said on Wednesday. Paine said that Waugh will join the side ahead of the first Test in Birmingham, beginning August 1. “I know it is something that Justin Langer and myself have been quite big on, that is to try and get some of our past legends in and around the team,” cricket.com.au quoted Paine as saying. “During the World Cup as well, we have had Ricky Ponting, and now with the Test series, we are very fortunate to have Steve Waugh who is, obviously, a legend and is going to be great service for me as a leader and captain. I think to have someone like him around during a Test series is going to be great for our whole group,” he added.
Waugh won eight Ashes series in his playing career. He won the series twice as a skipper. Australia have not won the Ashes in England for 18 years now and Waugh’s inclusion in the setup would prove as a big boost for the team. “I know I will be trying to bounce off him as much as I can. As I said, coming to England at times, particularly with the pressure and scrutiny that is around the team at the moment, I think he is someone who is regarded for handling that sort of stuff really well,” Paine said.
“For guys like myself and Steve Smith and David Warner who are quite experienced, it will be great. It is also going to be great for some of our younger players as well,” he added. Current Australian coach Justin Langer has often insisted on former Australian players getting involved with the squad to help produce better results. Former skipper Ponting is currently with the Australian squad in the World Cup. Australia have had a good CWC19 campaign so far as they are placed at the top of the table at present. The team has 14 points from eight matches and they were the first team to qualify for the semi-finals.
Australia’s Ashes team will be assembling in Southampton after the conclusion of the ‘all-star’ four-day clash between an Australian XI and Australia A, beginning July 23.