Australia paceman Mitchell Starc has backed his side’s battery of fast bowlers to “terrorise the Poms” during the winter’s Ashes series against England, which gets underway next month.
The benchmark for explosive and, at times, unplayable bowling was set by seamer Mitchell Johnson, who was England’s tormentor-in-chief during their last tour of Australia in 2013-14.
Johnson, who retired in 2015, took 37 wickets across the five Test matches during that series as Australia whitewashed England 5-0, and Starc believes the modern-day vintage can replicate the level of fear he created when on top form.
“Everyone will like to bowl like Jono and terrorise the Poms like he did,” said Starc, who had a spell in English county cricket with Yorkshire in 2012. “We’ve got a few guys who can bowl pretty quick and some good bouncers.
“If it’s not me, you’ve got Pat Cummins bowling fast bouncers, you’ve got Josh Hazlewood bowling consistent line and length, so much like that attack did when Jono took all those wickets, I think we complement each other really well.
“You throw in Jackson Bird, [Nathan] Coulter-Nile’s bowling well as well, so five really good guys there, Patto [James Pattinson] if he’s fit to go.”
Right-arm quick Pattinson is a doubt for the first Test in Brisbane, which starts on 23 November, as his struggles with a back injury continue, although Starc is set to make his comeback from a foot problem on Friday when he plays for New South Wales.
England, meanwhile, have bowling problems of their own and were forced to leave Middlesex’s Toby Roland-Jones out of their 16-man squad after the 29-year-old suffered a stress fracture to his lower back last month.
Injury-plagued Durham quick Mark Wood was also omitted, although he has been named in an England Lions training party which will shadow the senior squad for the majority of their time Down Under.
England’s seam department comprises of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Jake Ball, Craig Overton and potentially Ben Stokes, who remains suspended from international duty following his arrest last week on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.