Opening Ashes Test is in danger of being completely WASHED OUT… with forecasts predicting La Nina storms will batter Brisbane for the first four days having already seriously disrupted England’s preparations
- The La Nina weather pattern has disrupted England’s preparations for the Ashes
- England managed just 29 overs on the first morning of their first warm-up game
- Wednesday saw the second day of their last shot at match practice washed out
- Soggy conditions could bring England’s seamers more into contest in Australia
The start of the Ashes could become a complete washout, with storms now forecast to hit Brisbane for the first four days of next week’s opening Test.
The unseasonal La Nina weather pattern that has seriously disrupted England’s Ashes preparations is set to dominate the first instalment of the series and could affect the other four Tests, with torrential rain hitting the whole of Australia’s east coast.
So far England have managed just 29 overs on the first morning of their first warm-up game before La Nina struck in Queensland. Wednesday saw the second day of their final chance to gain any sort of match practice completely washed out.
The first Ashes Test between England and Australia in Brisbane could become a washout
The unseasonal La Nina weather pattern has disrupted England’s Ashes preparations
It had been assumed that the late arrival of Ben Stokes in the Ashes squad could balance the England side and allow a spinner in Jack Leach to gain a chance at the Gabba.
But Sportsmail revealed last summer that England were considering going into the Ashes with an all-seam attack and relying on captain Joe Root for variation anyway, because of the historical lack of success for finger spinners in Australia.
And soggy conditions that could bring England’s seamers more into the contest than was imagined appear to have scuppered any chance Leach had of playing in the first Test.
But the left-arm spinner, a perennial reserve for so much of the last two Covid-hit years, remained upbeat on Wednesday as England again took cover from the rain at their Brisbane base and were forced indoors to scramble together some practice.
It had been assumed the late arrival of Ben Stokes (left) could allow a spinner in Jack Leach (right) to gain a chance at the Gabba
But Sportsmail revealed last summer England were considering going in with an all-seam attack (pictured L-R: Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson and James Anderson)
‘Stokesey being back is a great boost for all of us,’ said Leach. ‘In terms of the balance it really helps things out and is probably good news for the spin department.
‘When I was not playing over the summer I was thinking about this series so I feel preparations have been ongoing. Now it’s about getting out there and doing it.’
Meanwhile, the BBC on Wednesday gave Michael Vaughan a broadcasting lifeline by saying they would continue to work with him next year. But he remains axed from the Ashes.
Vaughan was dropped from the Test Match Special team after being caught up in Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of institutionalised racism at Yorkshire, with BBC insisting his position as a commentator was compromised by his involvement in the story.
Meanwhile, the BBC has given ex-captain Michael Vaughan (above) a broadcasting lifeline
The former England captain is still due to work on television coverage of the Ashes for Australia’s Fox Sports but, as Sportsmail revealed last week, BT will not use their commentary when Vaughan is involved.
That means BT are hastily recruiting their own commentary team, with Ian Bell expected to be a late addition, but Vaughan tweeted on Wednesday that he had tested positive for Covid and will be delaying his arrival in Australia.
If he is ruled out of commentating for the first two Tests, as is now expected, BT will use the full Fox commentary.