Healy: There will be no shortage of effort under Paine and Langer

Former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy also feels it is essential to have a specialist stumper in overseas tours.

Peter Siddle (right), who last played a Test in 2016, is likely to share the new ball with Mitchell Starc.   -  AFP

As Australia, led by new skipper Tim Paine, gears up for the two-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates — its first major assignment in the aftermath of the tampering saga — former wicketkeeper Ian Healy feels the key to success will depend on how the fast bowlers perform.

“Ask a captain what he thinks after a non-specialist ’keeper misses a chance to stump Virat Kohli, no matter what format of the game.”

“We have to keep our top level fast bowling attack on the field and keep performing. That enables our brand new batting line-up and captain to know that a bad day or two might be covered over. There won't be a shortage of effort under the guidance of Tim Paine and Justin Langer,” Healy tells Sportstar.

Nine of the 15 players flying to UAE were with the 'A' team that toured India for pivotal preparation ahead of the Pakistan Tests, five of those will be in line for their debut baggy green when the series gets underway next month.

Explaining the importance of the 'A' team, the veteran of 119 Tests says, “It ('A' team) started when Australia had 20 players good enough, but not able to get a game for Australia."

"Now it is developmental and exposure for players to all conditions. We have very little experience in our depth," he adds.

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Role of a specialist 'keeper

Ian Healy has played 119 Tests for Australia   -  Getty Images

  Healy, who has 366 catches and 29 stumpings in 119 Tests, also made 4,356 Test runs including four centuries. As someone who has kept wickets to legendary bowlers, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, Healy emphasises on the importance of picking a specialist ’keeper on important tours.

"Ask a captain what he thinks after a non-specialist ’keeper misses a chance to stump Virat Kohli, no matter what format of the game,” he quips.

"Your bowlers need the best possible support they can get providing the team isn’t getting let down with the batting of course."

Healy explains that ‘working well with spinners bowling in tandem’ is quintessential to honing glovework against the turning ball.

“Many balls per hour compared to quick bowlers. Traditionally Indian pitches were slow turners and consistent. The last series (2017) was unacceptable in my eyes for inconsistency even early in the match with slow bowlers! Height of bounce as well as amount of spin varied greatly from the start in two of the four Tests," he says.

Talking about what drills Paine could undertake ahead of the trip, the Aussie says, “Same drills which challenge you to watch the ball and stay down with the bounce. Doesn’t matter then if it bounces or not, you will catch it. Watch and react to what happens, not what you think might happen."

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