Bird looks for short county stint to prepare for Ashes

The 26-year-old was a surprise omission when Australia released their list of centrally-contracted players today, with injury-prone duo Ryan Harris and Patrick Cummins among the pacemen preferred by the selection panel.

Bird took 11 wickets at 16.18 in two Tests against Sri Lanka this winter before succumbing to stress fractures of the back and returning home from the Indian tour.

Jackson Bird

“I would still love to play a part in the Ashes — nothing has changed from that point of view,” said Bird. “I’m just going to focus on my rehab and focus on getting back on the park.”

Bird’s manager Tony Connelly is now talking to several county sides and hopes to secure a short-team deal soon.

“If he plays Tests he will get upgraded (to a contract).” The fast bowler will tour Britain this summer with the Australia A squad prior to the Ashes.

Batting worry
Australia’s lack of batting depth has been labelled a “concern” by chairman of selectors John Inverarity ahead of back-to-back Ashes series.

Australia yesterday announced just six specialist batsmen in a list of 20 centrally contracted players ahead of the next 12 months.

David Warner (39.46), Shane Watson (35.34), Phil Hughes (33.00) and Ed Cowan (32.90) are the other batsmen while Twenty20 skipper George Bailey is yet to make his Test bow. “There is a concern, I mean we do not have the batting depth now that we enjoyed seven or eight and 15 years ago, we just don’t,” Inverarity said. 

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