THE Australian cricketers’ gruelling home summer could give them an edge on their tour of the Caribbean, according to former West Indies vice-captain Brendan Nash.
The Australians, under stand-in captain Shane Watson, arrived on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) in the tiny Leeward Islands nation of St Vincent, where the series gets underway with the first of five one-day internationals on Friday.
The tour, which also features two Twenty20 matches and three Tests, completes a hectic nine-month period for the Australians after visits to Sri Lanka and South Africa were followed by a six-Test summer and the one-day tri-series which only finished with an Australian victory in Adelaide last Thursday.
While some have expressed concern that the gruelling schedule could leave the Australians fatigued and vulnerable to a fresh West Indies line-up, former Queensland player Nash believes it’s likely to prove the opposite.
He says their match sharpness could be a key early given the West Indies last played together in a one-dayer against India in Chennai in December.
“The Aussies will have the edge having just recently played in a tough 50 overs competition and the West Indies team haven’t played much 50 overs for a little while,” Nash told AAP.
The 34-year-old Nash, who is still hoping to add to his 21 Test caps for the Windies in the upcoming Australian series, also feels the tour will be a big one for the hosts’ skipper Darren Sammy.
“Sammy as a captain is still developing his skills in this department,” Nash said of the allrounder who took over as captain in October 2010.
“It will be a tough challenge for him as he has a relatively inexperienced side, especially the batting, and the Aussies love to pressure the captain on and off the field.”
Watson said on his Australian squad’s arrival that the first hurdle will be overcoming the 30-plus hours of travelling to get to St Vincent.
“In the end that’s the most important thing, to make sure we recover from our flight and make the most of the next couple of days to make sure we’re ready for the first game on Friday,” Watson told reporters.
“We’ve just come off a big series in Australia so hopefully we can continue that form that we’ve shown throughout that one-day series and bring it into the games against the West Indies.”
Australia are likely to get their first look at the Arnos Vale Cricket Ground, which will host the first three ODI matches, on Tuesday. – AAP