SYDNEY, Nov 7 (AFP): Skipper Michael Clarke Friday welcomed the likelihood of Australia having a surfeit of fit pacemen ahead of a demanding season of cricket climaxing with next year�s World Cup.
The gruelling schedule of international matches at home began on Wednesday, with the first of three Twenty20 matches against South Africa.
That will be followed by five one-day internationals against the Proteas, a four-Test series against India and a limited overs tri-series involving England and India before the one-day World Cup in February-March.
Pat Cummins, who has played little in the last three Australian seasons through injury, made an encouraging return to international cricket in Wednesday�s T20 loss to South Africa.
Josh Hazlewood, whose last international appearance was over nine months ago, starred for his New South Wales state side in the recent domestic one-day tournament.
Test paceman Ryan Harris, meanwhile, returned to action this week after being sidelined since his match-winning efforts in the Cape Town Test against South Africa back in March.
And James Pattinson, who hasn�t played a first-class game since that Cape Town Test, is also on the comeback trail.
�I think it�s great for Australian Test cricket that a lot of our fast bowlers are on the mend,� Clarke said at the launch in Sydney of his latest book, Captain�s Diary.
�Josh Hazlewood has done really well in the one-dayers, Ryan Harris is getting fitter and stronger, James Pattinson is back as is Pat Cummins.
�That�s a real positive sign for Australian cricket, moving forward. Over the next 12 months, I think we�re obviously going to need them all.�
Clarke said Australia�s disastrous two-Test hammering by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates this month would serve to spark the players in all forms of the game.
�I guess that�s extra hunger and fire in the belly for us as the Australian team, to make sure we�re at the top of our game, whether it be T20, one-day cricket or Test cricket,� he said.
Pakistan inflicted a 356-run defeat in the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Monday � Australia�s third heaviest loss in all matches �to take the two-match series 2-0.