Former Australian fast bowler Craig McDermott coaching at a cricket clinic with ACT U-15 and U- 7 players at Manuka Oval on Friday. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Australia has the fast-bowling depth to overcome the large injury toll to our pace brigade, former great Craig McDermott says.
Boom youngster Pat Cummins and late bloomer Ryan Harris are among those on the sideline for the start of the Test series. Cummins, 19, has been ruled out for the summer with a stress fracture in his back while 33-year-old Harris had shoulder surgery in October.
Harris will turn out in Brisbane grade cricket on Saturday, but will only play as a batsman and won't feature for Queensland in either the Sheffield Shield or Ryobi Cup games in Canberra next week.
A persistent calf injury to medium-pace all-rounder Shane Watson has further weakened Australia's attack, but McDermott doesn't believe the injuries are a sign of a larger issue.
''The workloads have been managed superbly well,'' said McDermott, who claimed 291 wickets in his Test career.
''We're very well stocked in the fast bowling ranks when you take into account the guys out injured.
''When you've got guys like Mitchell Johnson, Jackson Bird, Ben Cutting, Alister McDermott .. these guys have been around for a little while and have been on a couple of Aussie A tours. Then you've got the seven or eight guys at the top who are all going well.''
McDermott believed Watson should continue bowling despite ongoing injury. ''I think he's a real asset to Australian cricket as an all-rounder,'' he said. ''They (the national selectors) played their cards to say he's not going to play as a batter, they want him to bowl.
''So he's got to work hard on getting back. His mechanics, as far as his technique and being able to think like a bowler are spot on, so he's just got to get through this injury and get back on the park.''
McDermott has worked as Australia's fast bowling coach, and on Friday was running his eye over ACT under-15 and under-17 talent.
He will roll the arm over for the Australian Cricket Association Masters in their Twenty20 match with the World Defence Team at Manuka Oval on Saturday, before a coaching clinic as part of his Pace Bowling Australia initiative on Sunday.
The program is designed for players from eight to 18 with a focus on establishing correct technique early, and providing ongoing advice across all aspects of bowling, including body position, strength and conditioning, and nutrition.
McDermott will line-up in a Masters team laden with international experience, including Darren Lehmann, Greg Matthews and John Davison, who belted the fastest century in World Cup history in 2003 while representing Canada.
The Pakistan Combined Services are likely to have heavy representation in the world team after a comprehensive victory in the International Defence Cricket Challenge final against the Malaysian Air Force at Manuka on Friday.
■ ACA Masters v World Defence Team at Manuka Oval on Saturday at noon. Free entry.