Joe Burns raring to go against Sri Lanka after week-long training camp in Chennai
Australian opener Joe Burns, who along with wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, spinner Steve O’Keefe and seam bowler Jackson Bird, spent a week long mini-training camp in the Indian city of Chennai before joining up with the rest of the Australian side in Sri Lanka, said that that he was fit and raring to go for the upcoming Test series against the island nation which begins from July 26.
The Australian team themselves arrived in Sri Lanka more than two weeks before the series opener at Kandy while Burns, who did not feature in the recent ODI tri-series in the Carribean which Australia won by defeating hosts West Indies in the final, opted for an extra week of preparation to get his body in shape and acclamatise to the conditions for what is expected to be a tough tour.
“The key thing for me was going from offseason and getting back into really intensive training, training that’s going to be similar to Test match preparation in terms of the skill work that we do,” Burns told cricket.com.au as the squad underwent low-key gymnasium and swimming sessions on Sunday. “And also the fact that it was really hot - I think it was over 40 degrees some of the days that we were there in Chennai.
“Nothing can really prepare your body for that in Australia during winter, so just to have a week’s head start before the tour officially gets going has been fantastic and now that we’re here in Sri Lanka I’m ready to go.”
Though the wickets in Sri Lanka are expected to assist the spinners much than the quicks, Burns is taking nothing for granted, especially with reports that the surface at Kandy, the venue for the first Test, will be slightly on the greener side.
“I think any time you have a new ball, it will swing and seam a bit,” Burns said. “Obviously on the drier-style wickets over here that might not last as long as in Brisbane or Perth, but the threat is still the same.You still need to be on your game.”
“Talking to some people recently, the wicket for the first Test in Kandy can often be a little bit green in that first session on day one. So I haven’t neglected the new ball practice and it’s one of the things that I’ve focused on in the off-season – my new ball game knowing that coming to India and Sri Lanka, we’d get plenty of reverse swing work here. It’s an area that I’ve tried to improve and hopefully, things I’ve worked on will hold me in good stead come game time,” he added.
Burns welcomes Stuart Law’s addition to the Australian coaching set up
With Australia’s batting coach Greg Blewett expecting the birth of his second child with wife Catherine, Cricket Australia has roped in former player Stuart Law to fill the role for the Sri Lanka tour. Burns welcomed the addition stating that Law’s experience of playing in the sub-continent will prove handy to the side.
“He (Law) is a great resource to have and I’m sure we’re going to work together closely over the next few weeks in preparing and refining our game now that we’re over here,” Burns said. “We’ve already talked about different game plans for the bowlers they (Sri Lanka) have got, and I guess we’ll sit down once we know their final squad and go over things again and develop things from there.”
“I certainly watched them (Sri Lanka) play in England, especially their new-ball bowlers. Even though conditions are going to be very different here you can still get a sense of how their pace bowlers will go about it with the new ball. It’s an area that we’re going to have to be really strong in against Sri Lanka.
“If we can start well and nullify the new ball then I think we’ve got enough strength throughout our middle-order to deal with their spin threat. For me I see that as my job for the tour – really nullify the new-ball and hopefully push on from there,” Burns said.