Brisbane, Australia (BBN)-Australia’s next opponents, Bangladesh, may have good reason to pray for the incessant rain tipped to engulf Brisbane before Saturday’s World Cup match, after Darren Lehmann hinted the tournament favourites would consider capitalising on conditions by playing four fast bowlers at the Gabba.
With the wicket to be covered while an anticipated month’s worth of rain falls on the city in the next few days, Australia’s quicks are licking their lips at what could prove a lively welcome for the subcontinental visitors, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
And while the return from injury of captain Michael Clarke had already left selectors with the job of having to drop a player to find a spot for him – it has been expected that George Bailey, the stand-in skipper, will be that unlucky man – they may be pressed into another rethink due to the weather.
There is every chance there will be no match on Saturday; the Gabba might look more like a waterskiing venue than a cricket ground if the deluge from the approaching, soon-to-be called Cyclone Marcia eventuates.
Locals are certainly preparing for the worst. Brisbane’s lord mayor was on Wednesday spruiking a new machine that churns out 1200 sandbags an hour, as residents were reminded of the locations where they could be picked up 24 hours a day.
The Bangladeshis could use a few of them if the group A game does goes ahead, particularly if Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are joined by Pat Cummins in the Australian line-up.
In that case, they may be left ducking for cover like the thousands of Queenslanders who are hunkering down to face Marcia.
“It depends if we want to go with the extra all-rounder or we could go with the extra quick,” Lehmann told Fairfax Radio. “It depends what the wicket comes up like. We won’t be able to make that call until it stops raining.”
Cummins, 21, has appeared likely to be consigned to a back-up role, at least while his pace mates are fit and firing and Australia are winning.
But a horses-for-courses team on a Gabba green-top could provide him an opportunity to make a World Cup debut.
He left enough of an impression on his teammates in the Allan Border Field training nets on Wednesday – in between several interruptions from above – to suggest he would be a scary proposition this weekend.
“I just faced Patty Cummins with a brand new ball in there and I don’t wish that on anyone,” said all-rounder Glenn Maxwell. “If it is like that, it would be a bit of a temptation to let four quicks rip, but then again I’m not a selector.”
Lehmann is, and while it will be left to the coach and his colleagues on the panel to determine, one thing appears to be certain. Clarke, who turned up early and breezed through training on Wednesday, will lead the side.
“If Michael is fit, he’s going to play, there’s no doubt about that,” Lehmann said. “It’s going to be a tough decision on someone but you have to make those in these tournaments.
“We have an idea the way we want to go, but at the end of the day it’ll be a tough call on someone.”
With wild weather approaching, though, the toughest decision on Saturday may be left to the social co-ordinator: what to do with the day off?