New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Former Australian cricketers Ian Healy and Michael Clarke have slammed the possibility of England bringing in shorter boundaries for the highly-anticipated five-match Ashes series, starting from June 16 in Edgbaston.
A report in The Times said England, who have achieved tremendous success in Test cricket in the last 12 months since Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have taken over, are discussing the plan to have short boundaries in the Ashes to maximise the impact of their ultra-attacking strategy with the bat and cause a disruption of Australia’s bowling plans.
As per recent information, England’s cricket grounds are already smaller on average than their Australian counterparts. According to the ICC rules, boundaries must be at least 59 metres square and 64 metres straight for men’s Test matches.
Speaking on SEN Radio, Healy, the wicketkeeping great, feels there’s no requirement to tweak the size of boundaries for the Ashes. “Boundaries are the least of their worries. Why would they bother? There’s no need for that.”
“Mishits will go for six, but that’s okay. Lots of modern-day mishits go for six anyway. I don’t feel that’s anything but clogging up your mind and overthinking too badly.”
Healy also warned England’s batters that Australia’s fast bowlers will come hard at them during the Ashes in June and July. “But they would know we’re going to bounce them. We’re coming at their armpits and their chest logos.”
“So get your chest guards on. They’re going to make those square of the wicket boundaries a little bit shorter so a mishit pull or hook… might carry.”
“Can’t do it. You can’t do it. You can’t make an English pitch fast. That’s okay, they’ll end up being good batting wickets which we’ll love as well. And a flat and fast wicket up front turns into a turning wicket. They better be careful they have enough spinners,” added Healy.
On the other hand, speaking on Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast show, Clarke remarked that he doesn’t see what benefit England would have from shorter boundaries, considering Australia would get to use them to their advantage as well.
“What a load of junk. Australian grounds are twice the size of England grounds anyway. That’s why there’s fewer sixes from the Australian players. Bat at the MCG you’ve got 90-metre boundaries, bat in England you’ve got 60-metre boundaries. Who cares? Both teams have got to bat.”
Australia haven’t won an Ashes series in England since 2001 while the Ben Stokes-led side are looking to regain the urn for the first time since 2015.