Australia’s fast-bowling logjam is likely to cause coach Darren Lehmann the odd sleepless night in the coming weeks, but it’s a welcome dilemma, according to batsman Shaun Marsh.
Arguably the biggest question mark over Lehmann’s squad ahead of the Ashes-opening Test in Cardiff on July 8 is over who will form his fast bowling unit, with five quicks demanding selection but likely only three spots up for grabs.
Young star Josh Hazlewood was named man of the series in the West Indies after claiming a series-high 12 wickets at the cost of just 8.83 runs apiece, but even he isn’t assured of a spot in the first Test.
In fact, champion legspinner Shane Warne suggested Hazlewood needs to wait his turn – and veteran Ryan Harris should be slot straight back in, despite not having played since the Australian summer where he finished down on pace and form in the 2-0 Test series win over India.
Mitchell Johnson terrorised England as Australia swept to a 5-0 series win at home two years ago, while Mitchell Starc continued to build off his stunning World Cup, where he was named man of the tournament.
There are also concerns about the ability of Harris, who has famously struggled with knee injuries in recent years, to get through all five Tests.
The outsider is Peter Siddle, the owner of 192 Test scalps who has slipped down the pecking order and hasn’t been called on since the opening Test of the India series.
“I think we’re very blessed to have four or five quality fast bowlers at the moment,” said opening batsman Marsh, who is himself facing pressure to retain a spot in the team.
“They’re all bowling fantastically well and they’re all very challenging out in the middle.
“I thought they bowled fantastically well (at training) and throughout the last few months have just been outstanding
“It’s a good dilemma to have.
“You’ve got five real quality fast bowlers that are vying for probably three spots.”