Australian bowling coach Cooley back with England ahead of Ashes

MELBOURNE: England have appointed Troy Cooley as a consultant pace bowling coach ahead of the upcoming Ashes series.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced Wednesday that the 55-year-old Australian will aid the tourists’ quicks in Brisbane under the direction of elite pace bowling coach Jon Lewis.

He will then assist the seamers in England’s second-string Lions squad when they face Australia A in a four-day match that starts on December 9.

Cooley was England’s bowling coach during their 2005 Ashes series success and subsequently took up a similar role with Australia.

He joined the England and Lions players during the three-day intra-squad warm-up match that started in Brisbane on Tuesday.

ECB performance director Mo Bobat said in a statement: “It’s great to have someone with Troy’s expertise and experience supporting our Ashes prep and also working closely with our Lions pace bowlers.

“Troy’s understanding of what it takes to be successful in Australian conditions is second to none, and the players are sure to benefit hugely.”

Joe Root’s men are looking to regain the Ashes from arch-rivals Australia following a drawn 2019 series in England.

The first Test of an upcoming five-match campaign starts at Brisbane’s Gabba ground on December 8.

Persistent rain saw play abandoned without a ball being bowled on day two of England’s intra-squad tour match in Brisbane on Wednesday, delaying the much-anticipated return of star all-rounder Ben Stokes.

Only 29 overs had been possible on Tuesday, with openers Rory Burns (39 not out) and Haseeb Hameed (53 not out) unbeaten in steering an England XI to 98 without loss against the Lions.

“No play today on Day 2 of our first Ashes tour match due to this,” England Cricket tweeted with an umbrella emoji and a video clip showing a sodden outfield at Peter Burge Oval in Brisbane.

More rain is expected on Thursday, potentially scuppering Stokes’ return after almost five months out due to mental health concerns and finger surgery.

England have just one more game scheduled before the first Test — a four-day, intra-squad warm-up from November 30.

Australia have their only red-ball preparation ahead of the series on December 1, when they will play a three-day game among themselves.