De Winter will have to ensure that the Australian pace attack stay fit and healthy for the upcoming season
The Australia team have been facing a crisis in the past couple of months as more and more of their talented pace bowling attack have fallen victim to injuries.
Cricket Australia are fully aware of the growing problem and their top priority for new bowling coach Ali de Winter will be to make sure that he keeps the bowlers fit and healthy for the upcoming season.
However, many of the pace bowlers in the Australian team have admitted that former bowling coach Craig McDermott helped them improve their match fitness and bowling technique in such a short period of time, and they are sceptical about whether de Winter can do the same since he has no international experience.
The scepticism from the Australian pace bowlers continues to grow since de Winter has not played much first-class cricket either, with only 21 matches and 35 wickets under his belt for Tasmania.
But, de Winter does have a lot of coaching experience, as he has coached both internationally and in Australia over the past decade.
Cricket Australia believes that de Winter will be the perfect candidate for the job, but de Winter knows that the true test will be having to convince the Australian pacers that he was the right man for the job.
Australian seamer James Pattinson built up a great relationship with McDermott when he was coach, and is now hoping to see the true potential of de Winter.
Replying to Pattinson’s comments, de Winter said: “I read that with interest, but to James’ credit he came to me straight away and he wanted to talk through that. To me, that showed a sign of maturity. By the end of the four weeks we were on the same page and we were good mates, we could share information and we had started to build up that trust and he was really supportive of me going forward with the process and he’s really looking forward to working with me now. I think there will be people who will say that the bowling coach needs to have been there and done it. I’m a career coach, so I don’t necessarily believe that. I’ve got a lot of trust and faith in the experience that I’ve had internationally and here with Cricket Tasmania. I think it will be an issue to some people. I think the pressure will come on if the bowling group don’t start to show that they’re improving. But it doesn’t matter to me. It matters to some.”
De Winter will now be working with rising talents such as Pattinson, Pat Cummins ans Mitchell Starc, but one of his main aims will be working closely with the medical staff to make sure that the young bowlers do not sustain any more injuries, which has proven to be extremely difficult in the past year.
Pattinson, who is currently 22, picked up an abdominal strain during the recent England series, and has also been complaining about back and foot problems since making his Test debut in December.
Cummins, 19, also sustained an injury during the England series, as he developed a side strain and has been struggling to fully recover from a foot injury he suffered in the summer.
One of de Winter’s goals will be to make sure that the pace bowlers adequately recover from their injuries and receive a lot of training for the upcoming back-to-back Ashes series next year.
“I think their actions are both pretty sound, there’s little bits of tinkering you can do along the way but they’ve got to where they are because their actions are good and they’re able to execute skill. That’s one thing we don’t have to worry about. The focus should be on having them physically fit enough and prepared as best as they can be. That means maintenance on their strength and their fitness all the way along, as well as getting good treatment and recovery. That’s a difficult thing to balance in such a busy schedule. We need to maybe target bowlers that are better at one form of the game and have them more available for Test cricket if that’s what it is, or one-day cricket if that’s what it is, because in this climate we’re in now it’s very difficult to play all forms, all the time. We’ve got to find a strategy to make sure that we have less injuries. With such a busy schedule in the next 12 to 18 months I think we need to jump on that pretty quickly. People have talked about rotating the bowlers through at different times and I think that’s worth consideration. But you can only rotate if you’ve got good players to come in,” de Winter said.
Even though Pattinson has been left out of Australia’s Twenty20 plans, there are still opportunities in the future where he can prove his worth since Australia have a hectic schedule ahead of them, with a limited overs series against Pakistan, home series against South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, an overseas tour of India and finally back-to-back Ashes series against arch-rivals England.
De Winter noted that the Australian pacers currently lack intimidation, and even though players like Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus show a lot of aggression in their bowling, de Winter wants to instil the philosophy amongst all the bowlers.
“There’s a certain amount of aggression in that group, that’s only four [bowlers] of maybe a dozen or 15. What I would like to see is that everybody has that mindset of being aggressive and strong and have a physical presence on the ground, which at the moment is what the South Africans are doing and what the English appear to be doing. Australia’s bowling attack is probably not the most feared in world cricket and for a long, long time we had that aura about our bowling group. I think that’s something we should want to strive to get back to. I think we can change the physical culture in our bowling group and make sure that we’re the strongest and fittest going around. With that comes confidence,” de Winter added.