Beer soaking up SCG atmosphere
Australia spinner Michael Beer has revealed selection for the fifth Ashes Test would be the first time he has played on the SCG.
The 26-year-old stunned media at today’s pre-match press conference by admitting he had not even seen the ground until the team assembled for a New Year's Day practice session.
"Experience? You'd say zero," Beer replied when asked about his SCG CV.
"This is the first time I've been inside the SCG today.
"I've trained a couple of times out on the training decks before a one-dayer at Hurstville and a second XI match at Hurstville in the past, but first time I've been here and I've really liked the ground.
"It looks different on TV."
Beer's rise to Test squad selection was meteoric, coming after just five first-class games, but his ascension to the starting XI has not been so speedy.
He was left out of the third Test at the WACA – his adopted home ground – and again carried the drinks when the Ashes moved to his home town of Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test.
He will now almost certainly debut on the spin-friendly SCG and accepts he has some research to do before the first ball is bowled on Monday.
"Obviously I'll talk to a lot of guys. The senior guys will talk between now and the start and hopefully I'll learn a lot on how to bowl," Beer said.
"There's a lot of NSW boys in the side with Hads (Brad Haddin) and Michael Clarke, so I'll sponge as much info off them."
Meanwhile Glenn McGrath has ruled out coaching Australia's elite fast bowlers, but confirmed he is willing to help out on a casual basis as the national team look to bounce back from their Ashes disappointment.
Current fast bowling coach Troy Cooley will step down after the fifth Test to take up a role at Australia's Centre of Excellence, leaving the post clear at a vital time in the country's cricketing history.
But McGrath, who took 563 wickets in 124 Tests for Australia, will not be the one filling the void.
"Not at the moment," McGrath said when asked whether he was interested in Cooley's job.
"I'm always happy to give advice where I can but there's been a lot happening in my life in the past 12 months especially and there's plenty to keep me busy.
"I guess I'll chat to the boys a fair bit this Test match and see what I can do, but as for an official role, we'll see what the future holds."
McGrath was also disappointed at Australia's inability to snatch back the Ashes from England, but does not share the pervading air of doom and gloom surrounding the team's future, predicting a revival is just around the corner.
"Growing up as a kid in Australia playing cricket, the Ashes is always a big one," he said.
"To play them here in Australia and to lose is pretty disappointing, but it amazes me how when Australia was so dominant, everyone saying it's bad for world cricket, and now all of a sudden they've lost a few games and everyone's calling for their heads.
"I think it's a great time to be a young fella in Australian cricket. There's plenty of opportunities.
"It goes in cycles. It wasn't that long ago where the current Australian team won 13 in a row, so I've got total faith the boys will bounce back and we'll get back to the top of the tree."