Birmingham, Jul 31: Australia Test captain Tim Paine is unperturbed about facing England at Edgbaston, a ground where the hosts have an excellent record.
"Obviously, you want to get off to a good start in the Ashes," Paine said ahead of the first Test here on Thursday. "It's really important that you get some momentum early in a big series like this."
"We haven’t spoken about whether Edgbaston is a fortress for them, because that’s irrelevant," he said. "It’s about being clear on what we want to do, both individually and as a team. If we can be really clear, come out and execute well, it doesn’t matter if we play at Edgbaston or on the moon, we think our best cricket is good enough."
The Ashes contest has always attracted support for the home team in big numbers and Paine said his side would aim to feed off the loud and engaging atmosphere, an ICC report on Wednesday said. "We're just looking to embrace it," he explained. "It is part of international cricket here in England and that's something if you embrace it, you can have great memories."
"We were talking about using it as an energy and using it in a positive manner. We know what's coming, it's part and parcel. We need to be strong enough to handle it. We've been backing each other up, it's a tight group, which is no different from anywhere else, and here, it can be more important than anywhere else," said Paine.
Australia have named six pace-bowling options in their 17-member squad for the first Ashes Test, with an eye on managing the workload of their three premier pacers, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. Which of those pacers would finally feature in the XI will depend on the conditions, Paine said.
"As JL (Justin Langer) said, we’re going to pick the team we think is going to win each Test match given the conditions we get when we arrive at those venues," he said. "And the bowlers are across that."
"It's a great thing for our team to have a really strong mix of fast bowlers who can all play in different conditions. But as we’ve said to the fast bowlers, it’s actually a great thing for them as well because we can now prolong their careers for a few years," Paine said.
"The last two or three years, we’ve been way too reliant on Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood – they’ve played a lot of Tests and subsequently picked up lots of niggly injuries along the way. It’s a positive for all those guys," he said. "Another one is Peter Siddle," Paine added. "He can get another 12 months of Test cricket if we keep picking guys for the conditions. That’s the way we’ve sold it to them. It’s a great thing for the team but it’s also a great thing for them individually." (UNI)