England has been given a boost ahead of this summer’s highly-anticipated Ashes series against Australia with the return of fast bowling coach David Saker.
The Australian has already enjoyed success with the English Test side earlier in his career and will be hoping to have a similar impact as they prepare to do battle with the Baggy Greens for the famous urn this year.
Saker Comes In With Good Record
Having helped England during their last Ashes series win in Australia back in 2010-11, Saker knows what it takes to come out on top against his countrymen. England is the hosts this time around for the Ashes and, as of 14th March, are priced at +105 in the cricket odds to win the series this summer. In what could well be an evenly-matched contest, both nations are looking to gain advantages where they can. England head coach Brendon McCullum will have been impressed with Saker’s recent work with the country’s white-ball teams, as he was already working under coach Matthew Mott before the English won the last T20 World Cup in November.
Saker will be eager to take that success from the shorter forms of the game to the rigors of Test match cricket. It’s by no means new ground for the 56-year-old, who has enjoyed previous success in the longest form of the sport with England. Part of the coaching team that won the Ashes in Australia 3-1 in 2010-11, Saker was able to get some superb performances out of bowler James Anderson in that series. The Lancashire paceman finished the series with 24 wickets, while Chris Tremlett also contributed with 17. Mitchell Johnson was the highest wicket-taker for the hosts Down Under with 15. Saker helped contribute to a statement Ashes win over skipper Ricky Ponting’s strong Australian side and will be relishing the prospect of the series to come this summer.
No Reservations For Saker
The experienced coach has already revealed that when approached for the role with the Test side that he had no second thoughts about taking the position. England has been playing an exciting brand of cricket since McCullum became head coach and started working alongside skipper Ben Stokes. Now set to work with the England staff that includes former players Paul Collingwood, Marcus Trescothick, and Jeetan Patel, Saker will be hoping to have a big influence on the Test side once again.
The key for all fast bowling coaches through an Ashes series is trying to get the most out of the pace attack, while also making sure they don’t burn out during the exhaustive schedule. Five Test matches in the space of just over six weeks is a heavy workload for the pace attack and Saker will be eager to make sure he gets the most out of the likes of Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, and Mark Wood while trying to keep them fit throughout the series.
While also speaking about his delight at taking the job, Saker is also wary of what Australia will bring and feels the upcoming campaign could be a standout Ashes series in the long history of the competition. Australia did suffer a 2-1 Test series defeat to India over February and March and will feel like they have plenty to work on for the trip to the UK. The Baggy Greens had some days to forget out in the middle with a bat in hand, with India’s bowling attack getting at the Australian order on several occasions. Totals of 177 and 91 in the very first Test made it tough watching for Aussie fans and Saker will have paid close attention to what India did right in that Test and the other contests.
England head into the Ashes on the back of a drawn series in New Zealand and will know there is work to be done to be ready for the Australians’ arrival. Saker will be working with the fast bowlers over the coming months in a bid to make sure that, when the first Test takes place on 16th June at Edgbaston, his pacemen are raring to go.
It looks set to be another mouth-watering Ashes series and Saker’s influence could play a big role in this next intriguing installment of a contest that goes back to 1882.