Lillee believes running in the answer to Australia’s injury woes
Australia pace bowling great Dennis Lillee has questioned whether the current pace attack are truly committed to helping the country become the top ranked team across all three formats.
Lillee noted that frequent injuries and having no “go-to man” was going to do more harm than good for Australia in the long run.
Lillee attributed the pace attack’s frequent injury woes to a lack of preparation and also the newly implemented rotation policy.
Australia were forced to go into their final Test against South Africa without frontline bowling pair Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle since both were stricken with fatigue after a backbreaking second Test at Adelaide.
Meanwhile, Australia will be without James Pattinson for the entire summer due to a side injury he sustained during the series and Pat Cummins has also been ruled out with a stress fracture in his back.
All-rounder Shane Watson was also unavailable for the first two Tests against South Africa due to a calf injury he suffered during a Sheffield Shield game prior to the start of the series.
Lillee, who recovered from numerous career-ending injuries during his international career and ended up taking a record 355 Test wickets in only 70 Tests, stated that the young bowlers were not running enough.
“If I had a squad of fast bowlers myself at the moment you can bet they would be doing a hell of a lot more running and pushing themselves into the deck a bit more,” Lillee said. “You don’t stop running, running is your game, running is fast bowling. Obviously you’ve got to be able to bowl, but running is what gets you there.
“If you’ve got a good base there that’s terrific, but you’ve got to keep that motor going and keep that fitness up during the season. I think that’s where a lot probably do fall away.”
The pace legend was also shocked that Siddle and Hilfenhaus had been rested for the final Test against South Africa.
“I would’ve thought as a professional sportsman knowing what’s coming up and what events you have, you’d prepare accordingly,” Lillee added. “You set yourself for a number of Tests in a period of time.”
Lillee also mentioned that Australia need a bowler like Dale Steyn, who has the ability to be a go-to man and vary his pace considerably.
“All great bowling attacks, perhaps look at Steyn, there is a go-to man,” Lillee said. “The go-to man is the man who can break it open, and who when it gets tight and you can’t get a breakthrough, you go to that guy and he often comes through.
“This attack at the moment you probably can’t say there is a go-to-man. They are all around the 135-140 (kmh) mark, there is not a guy like Steyn who can go up or down a gear.”
When asked who looked to be the most promising young bowler Australia current have, Lillee said: “I think Pattinson looks a very good prospect to me, if he can stay fit and stay on the park, then he looks a bloody good prospect.”