Numbers suggest pace will play an important part but Andrew McDonald is ready to adapt
“We are taking some educated guesses based upon what we’ve seen in recent times,” he said. “Looking at the PSL, looking at the squares…it’s at the back end of their season. Our preparation takes on a greater range and probably less specific than what we’d do if we knew exactly what we were getting.
“We are covering all bases, from turning wickets to wickets with grass on – they have a sensational pace attack, so we’ll be tested with that – there’s many ways that they can play it and they are in control of their own conditions. We feel as though the squad is balanced with enough options for whatever the case may be.”
One of the options that could come into play is Green playing as a third pace bowler if a second frontline spinner is selected, with his performances against England – he claimed 13 wickets at 15.76 – giving confidence that he could take on the role both from a wicket-taking and workload capacity.
“If it did go that way, Cameron Green would bowl a lot more overs in the first innings than potentially what he normally would, but over the course of a game, the spinners would probably pick up a lot more of the work in the second innings. So it would probably level out to be similar loads,” McDonald said. “We are cautious it’s a long-term journey for Cameron, but what he’s been able to deliver has been second to none so far, so we are excited about the fact that he could do that role. Then you’ve got other options in terms of Mitch Marsh, [could] play two allrounders, so we’ve got great flexibility.”
Harris and Marsh will likely be the spare batters on the tour should injury or Covid strike any of the incumbents, and McDonald believed Harris would be able to take on a variety of positions.
“Usman you would say is a fair chance to start in the first Test match after what he did during this summer,” McDonald said. “But we’ve got some options, some competition for spots, and that’s always healthy.
“We know what [Harris] can do. Can he fit into the middle order if something were to go awry there? That’s a potential as well. If he was to be called upon, or he were to start, through whatever reason, we feel as though you could do a job. No doubt about that.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo