Australia have world's best bowling attack, says Mickey Arthur

 

Australia coach Mickey Arthur says his side have the "best bowling attack in the world" and can put England under pressure in the Ashes.

He claimed that England have shown "cracks" in the past.

"They are a very good cricket side but I would like to see how they handle pressure for a sustained period of time," Arthur told Test Match Special.

Australia Ashes Tour itinerary

10-14 July: 1st Test, Trent Bridge

18-22 July: 2nd Test, Lord's

1-5 August: 3rd Test, Old Trafford

9-13 August: 4th Test, Durham

21-25 August: 5th Test, The Oval

"I honestly believe we can win the Ashes - we have the best all-round bowling attack in world cricket."

In an in-depth interview to be broadcast on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra during live coverage of Thursday's Champions Trophy semi-final between India and Sri Lanka, Arthur gives an insight into Australia's preparations.

In addition to suggesting that England may not cope under sustained pressure, South African Arthur described the reaction of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to David Warner's attack on Joe Root as "part and parcel" of the game, talked about the batting line-up which could start the first Test on 10 July, and discussed the likelihood of headline-grabbing spinner Fawad Ahmed being involved in the series.

Despite England being the bookmakers' favourites to retain the Ashes, Arthur is confident Australia can cause an upset with their bowling attack.

His 16-man squad contains six bowlers, including the uncapped James Faulkner.

Peter Siddle is his most experienced bowler with 150 wickets in 41 Tests.

The Ashes bowlers

Australia

  • James Pattinson Tests 10 wickets 40 average 23.37
  • Peter Siddle Tests 41 wickets 150 average 28.84
  • Nathan Lyon Tests 22 wickets 76 average 33.18
  • Mitchell Starc Tests 9 wickets 30 average 34.03
  • Ryan Harris Tests 12 wickets 47 average 23.63
  • James Faulkner No Tests

England

  • James Anderson Tests 82 wickets 307 average 30.14
  • Stuart Broad Tests 57 wickets 195 average 30.93
  • Graeme Swann Tests 52 wickets 222 average 28.50
  • Steve Finn Tests 22 wickets 88 average 28.73

Spinner Nathan Lyon has taken 76 wickets in his 22 Tests, while James Pattinson, Ryan Harris and Mitchell Starc have 117 wickets between them in 31 appearances.

In comparison, England trio James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann have amassed 724 wickets in their 191 Test matches.

Arthur said: "I'm talking depth wise, if we pick up an injury we have got somebody who can rock up and be just as effective - I think that's a massive boost for us.

"If we play for each other and the badge, it will be extremely powerful. If our batsmen get enough runs, we have a really good chance in this Ashes series because I'm confident we will get 20 wickets."

Arthur also pinpointed last year's Test series against South Africa, which England lost 2-0 at home, as an example of the hosts' lack of resilience.

"When South Africa put them under pressure last year for extended periods of time we saw a couple of cracks develop," he said.

"That is going to be our challenge to put them under pressure for that period."

Arthur, who was appointed in 2011 as Australia's first foreign head coach, believes the reaction from the ECB towards Warner is something his side have to deal with.

Warner punched Root in the face in a Birmingham bar, an incident the ECB described as an "unprovoked physical attack".

The batsman was later fined and suspended by Cricket Australia until the start of the Ashes series.

David Warner's Australia career

David Warner
  • Warner has made 19 Test appearances, averaging 39.46 with the bat. He has made three centuries and seven fifties
  • In one-day internationals, Warner averages 29.81 from 38 innings with a strike-rate of 80.58
  • In 44 innings in Twenty20 internationals, he averages 28.71 at a strike-rate of 139.26

"That's part and parcel of touring England," Arthur said. "You have to be very street smart and on your game. If you're not, the media and the ECB will have a field day with you.

"We have to be smarter and make sure we make the right decisions. Unfortunately some guys are learning the hard way but you hope they will get better for it."

Warner will not be allowed to play in Australia's warm-up games against Somerset and Worcestershire, but Arthur said: "He will be available for selection for the first Test.

"All we have to do is give him the best possible preparation based on what we've got.

"He's going to get as close to the best preparation he can have without playing a game, then we have to make that call after the game in Worcester."

Spinner Fawad has been named on the A tour to South Africa and Zimbabwe - which takes place at the same time as the Ashes - but could yet be called up according to Arthur.

"It is likely. We have a couple of spinners that we are mulling over," he said. "If the weather stays the same we may consider another spinner. There's been no clear-cut decision yet."