Former Australia Test cricketer Mike Whitney says fatigue is no excuse ahead of Australia’s upcoming tour of South Africa beginning later this month.
Whitney spoke to the Canowindra News about the Australian summer and the looming Test series in South Africa while he was filming Sydney Weekender in Canowindra earlier this week.
He said he’d been asked previously whether some of the Aussie cricketers are tired following the recent one-day series against England, the Ashes, a one-day series in India and a two Test series in Bangladesh since August last year.
“There’s a lot of cricket going on. I would think someone like Davey Warner might be a little jaded, Steve Smith might be a little jaded but that’s no excuse they’re professional cricketers and they get opportunities to have a break,” he said.
For Whitney, the most important thing this summer was winning the Ashes 4-0, and the highlight was watching Steve Smith occupy the crease for such long periods of time.
If Australia had lost the Ashes but won the one-day series the summer would be an “abject failure”, he said.
Whitney described Australia skipper Steve Smith as a “bizarre” batsmen who has a style he’s never seen in his almost 40 years in the sport.
“He batted for over 35 hours in the series and his double century took 11 hours. I wouldn’t have batted that long in my whole career,” he said.
“I’ve never seen anybody bat like him and I’ve been a student of the game since 1979-1980. I’ve never seen anybody do that and bat like the way he bats. It’s bizarre stuff.”
Australia’s three-prong pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins also impressed Whitney – a former Australia fast bowler who took 39 Test wickets.
While Nathan Lyon’s off-spin continued to fly under the radar as a destructive weapon.
“I’ve had a little bit to do with Patty Cummins over the years when he was injured and coming back. He just looks like he’s hardened up in first-class cricket,” he said.
“And the GOAT [Nathan Lyon]. Everyone’s now realising he’s taken a lot of Test wickets. He’s just got his length right, the rotations, it’s just coming out of his hand right.”
Whitney expects the assignment in South Africa to be a difficult one, but one the Australians will be up for, and determined to win, after conceding back-to-back series defeats to the Proteas in their past two tours to Australia.
“I think whoever strikes first and hard will set the tone for the series but that will be a tough tour, it always is over there,” Whitney said.