Jackson Bird says knowing that he is well and truly in the mix for spot in Australia’s squad for the first Ashes Test has been a mental relief.
The 30-year-old Tasmanian paceman has been stood down from Sheffield Shield duty to train at the National Cricket Centre next week with fellow pacemen Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
“More than anything it is at the back of your mind all the time,’’ Bird said on Friday.
I am under no illusions in where I sit in that pecking order, I know I am behind those guys.Tasmania paceman Jackson Bird
“So to get that out of the back of your head is the best thing, and it is good to be in the mix, as it is better than not being in the mix.”
But Bird, who has taken 10 wickets at 22.80 in two Shield matches this summer, said he understood where he stood in the “pecking order”.
“If those guys are all fit at the start of the Test match, they will more than likely play and I’ve got no issues with that as they are three of the best fast bowlers in the world when they are up and running,’’ he said.
“I am under no illusions in where I sit in that pecking order, I know I am behind those guys.
“But there has been a lot of injuries around the last 12 months, so I’ll be ready to go if one of those guys get injured. I’ve got more and more rhythm as the Shield season has gone on and the ball feels like it is coming out real nice.”
Bird, who has played in one Ashes Test in Durham in 2013, said being part of a home series would be a dream come true.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play in an Ashes series overseas and growing up the Ashes is the pinnacle of Test cricket in Australia,’’ he said.
He has taken 34 wickets in eight Tests at 27.47, with his most recent appearance for his country coming in last summer’s Boxing Day Test against Pakistan.
He was also part of Australia’s tours to India and Bangladesh this year.
Meanwhile, former Launceston all-rounder James Faulkner looks set to make his Sheffield Shield season debut after being included in the Tigers’ squad to face Victoria at the MCG from Monday after being managed through the early part of the summer due to his troublesome knee.
“Jimmy is experienced enough now to know where his body is at,’’ Bird said of the Australian ODI representative.
”He brings a lot of experience to the team which I think we need.
“It will be good to see Jimmy back playing four day cricket and he will bowl some handy overs for us and add some strength to our batting in the lower order.”
Paceman Riley Meredith, who could make his first-class debut, and Tim Paine, who is captaining the CA XI against England in Adelaide, have also been named.
- SQUAD: George Bailey (c), Gabe Bell, Alex Doolan, Jake Doran, James Faulkner, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Tim Paine, Sam Rainbird, Tom Rogers, Jordan Silk, Matthew Wade, Beau Webster.