Cricket Australia Items/Blogs/mickey-arthur/2012/5/15/arthur-uk-squad

Mickey Arthur

Arthur: Building towards The Ashes

15 May 2012 3

As the dust has now settled on our VB Tour of the West Indies, it has given me a lot to reflect on:

I am very happy with where our Test team is headed.

Continuity in selection and role clarity is so important in creating  team culture and I know that all players now know where and how they fit in.

We have a settled top six now, and together this unit has played seven Test matches.

They have learnt about each other and how to work in partnerships for the greater good of the team.

Yes, we would have liked more runs from all of them but conditions were tough and I think we saw enough growth in technique and temperament to be excited.

They are going to be challenged in our next Test series against South Africa and it is going to be interesting to see how they respond.

One thing I know for sure, is that we need a very settled batting unit. Depth is important and I am really looking forward to seeing the performances of Klinger, Forrest,

Cowan, Smith, Burns, Cooper, Paine and Davis on the Australia  A Tour of England as well as Hughes and Khawaja in County cricket.

Our bowling stocks are very well resourced at the moment.

The luxury of having such depth was seen in the West Indies, it allowed us to rotate our bowlers, so in every Test match we had a fit and fresh pair of legs on the field.

Thankfully Sidds and Patto are all fine and will be rearing to go when the next series arrives.

Matthew Wade was very good on this tour. He started the tour a very frustrated man and finished it with his maiden Test century.

He worked tirelessly on his game and came back a special player, he certainly has grown from the experience of playing outside of his comfort zone.

Nathan Lyon continues to improve and will only get better and better, he is a finger spinner with an incredible gift.

We must remember he has only played 22 first class games, 13 of those have been Test matches.

I am really excited to watch him grow because I think he could be a very special player for Australia in time to come.

Michael Beer was good too and keeps doing the job asked of him. It is going to be interesting to see how John Holland performs in England, then we will have some real clarity on the depth of our spinners.

Our next assignment is the VB ODI Tour of the UK and one that we are all very excited about.

We are going about refreshing our ODI team while we are still No. 1 on the ICC ranking table and that is an interesting challenge for all of us.

We do not want to lose our status but realise this is necessary in our quest to have a settled unit for next years Champions Trophy and, of course, the World Cup in 2015.

I think our strength is the amount of flexibility in our squad selected to go to the UK.

We bat all the way down and in any game Michael Clarke will have seven bowling options available.

I am particularly interested to see how Steve Smith comes back into the fold, he is a talented cricketer who has the ability to do all three disciplines well. He will get an opportunity on this tour and let's hope that he grasps it with both hands.

Mitchell Johnson returns as well and we can't wait to have him back around the group. He may have to wait his turn though, as we are taking such a talented group of bowlers on the tour with us.

The player I am most excited about though is Pat Cummins, we all saw what he could do in his one and only Test match and to have him back in the mix is fantastic.

He has the ability to become one of the best in the world. He and Patto will take a huge amount out of this tour, we hope they both will be firing this time next year when we go to England to claim The Ashes back and drawing on the experience of touring the UK before will certainly give them an edge.

We are all having some time off now after what was a long summer for us but rest assured we want to put a marker down on this UK tour and leave a strong message that we are coming to get The Ashes in 2013.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
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