Patient Jackson Bird targets 2019 Ashes in England

Australian quick Jackson Bird  has set his sights on one final Ashes tour, but understands that he is standing in line behind the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins as he plans for 2019.

Bird, who has not played for Australia since the Boxing Day Test in December 2017, will be 32 when Australia set out to England for the next Ashes. He hopes to be able to add to his nine Test caps, with the 2019 Ashes tour potentially his last act as an international cricketer.

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“That is an aim for me, to be on that tour, but there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge before that series is selected,” the 31-year-old told cricket.com.au. “Being part of an Ashes series in England has probably been the highlight of my career so far. I was a bit younger when I went over there so I didn’t quite understand how big it actually was until I got home.”

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Bird was part of Australia’s Ashes squad that went to England in 2013, and played the fourth Test at Chester-le-Street. He managed two wickets in Australia’s 74-run defeat – which was his third match overall – and did not get a recall until early 2016 when Australia toured New Zealand. Eight wickets in two Tests were allowed by three more Tests later that year, which brought him 13 wickets. It would be a full year between Bird’s eighth and ninth Tests, both at the MCG.

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A wicketless outing against England last December has seen him sidelined once again, but Bird is hopeful of making a third comeback to Australia’s Test squad. He is a chance for the October trip to the UAE to play two Tests against Pakistan, with Cummins and Hazlewood out with injury. In particular, not being taken to England for the 2015 Ashes – which Australia lost – was a sore point for Bird, hence the importance of next year’s tour.

“Then I missed out on selection for the next Ashes over there and looking from the outside you actually realise how big the series is,” said Bird, who has taken 34 wickets an 30.64 from nine Tests. ”When you’re part of a squad on tour you’re part of a bubble and don’t really see what’s going on around, like the hype and the build-up.

“That 2019 series is hopefully something I’m going to be a part of, but I’ve got 10 (JLT Sheffield Shield) games for Tasmania this year to do as well as I can and the rest will take care of itself. The age that I’m at now, I’ll be 32 by that series next year, that could be the last time I play for Australia, so that’s something I’m really looking to be a part of. Hopefully I do well for Tassie this year and I get on that plane for England.”