Australia should be a dominant T20 team

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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67 Have your say

    Australian superstars David Warner and Steve Smith are dominating in the Indian Premier League along with lesser lights Andrew Tye, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Moises Henriques.

    Season after season Australian imports shine in the world’s strongest T20 league, yet the national T20 side continues to be a rabble.

    No other country, bar the hosts, has had such a resounding impact on the IPL since it started in 2008. In its nine completed seasons, four times Australians have won the Player of the Tournament award – Shane Watson (2008 and 2013), Glenn Maxwell (2014) and Adam Gilchrist (2009).

    To put that in perspective, only twice has that award been won by an Indian player. Meanwhile, an Australian has been the leading runscorer in the IPL season four times – Shaun Marsh (2008), Matthew Hayden (2009), Mike Hussey (2013) and Warner (2015).

    Warner, one of the greatest players in IPL history, was also the second-highest runscorer in 2016 with an extraordinary 848 runs at 61. This season he is the leading batsman in the competition with 459 runs at 66 (strike rate 151) including an incredible 126 from 59 balls for Sunrisers Hyderabad against Kolkata on Sunday.

    In that ballistic knock he brought up his 50 from just 20 balls. Australians have made all three of the fastest 50s scored this IPL season, with Warner joined by Chris Lynn and Aaron Finch in that list.

    As further evidence of the lofty standing Australians hold in the IPL, the only three foreign captains in the competition all are from down under – Warner (Hyderabad), Smith (Pune) and Maxwell (Punjab).

    Smith and Maxwell both are having fantastic seasons. The former is in the top five runscorers with 323 runs at 53 (strike rate 136). Maxwell, meanwhile, has comfortably the best strike rate (179) among the top 30 runmakers in the competition, amid a haul of 193 runs at 32. He has underbowled himself but has been very effective when he has taken the ball, conceding a miserly 6.6 runs per over while taking 3-66 from 10 overs.


    There have been plenty of other Australians who have had much bigger roles with the ball and proven very effective. Perth Scorchers paceman Tye was one of the revelations of the tournament before dislocating his shoulder on Saturday, an injury which will see him take no further part in the IPL.

    Despite playing only six games he is third on the wicket-taking table with 12 wickets at an amazing average of 12. What makes Tye’s efforts even more impressive is that he has given up just 6.71 runs per over, the second-best economy rate among the top 15 wicket takers.

    Just like Tye, Coulter-Nile has had a huge impact in a small amount of time, taking 11 wickets from just five matches at an average of 14. Another Aussie has been among the best fast bowlers in this IPL, with Pat Cummins snaring nine wickets at 21.

    Cummins has proven difficult for batsmen to get after, with his economy rate of 7.41 the third-best of any quick in the competition’s top 25 wicket takers.

    Henriques, meanwhile, is continuing his blazing form in all three formats over the past year, with the finest IPL season of his career. The NSW all-rounder has smashed 200 runs at an average of 67 (strike rate 141) and is pushing his claims to make Australia’s starting XI for the upcoming Champions Trophy ODI tournament.

    Blues Moises Henriques celebrates after taking a wicket

    All of this success by Australian players would lead the casual observer to believe Australia must be one of the dominant Twenty20teams. Instead they’ve been perennial underperformers since first playing the format more than 12 years ago.

    Australia have an ordinary 47-43 win-loss record in the history of T20Is. Their results have been even worse over the past two years, with an abysmal 7-9 win-loss record, including a poor showing at last year’s World T20, in which they failed to make the semi-finals.

    Too often Australia have picked experimental Twenty20teams during bi-lateral series. They have shown the format no respect by regularly parachuting random players into the XI or scheduling Twenty20series at times which clashed with Test or ODI series.

    Then they’ve rushed to take T20Is seriously again when the World T20 comes along only to, not surprisingly, underwhelm once more. The IPL undoubtedly has made some nations stronger in the shorter format, with the West Indies being the prime example.

    England finally have allowed their players to take part in the competition with an eye to improving as a limited overs nation. Australia, meanwhile, are yet to reap the benefits of exposing their leading players to the IPL.

    That, however, is their own fault. If they placed greater priority on the shortest format they would quickly become an elite Twenty20team.

    This Australian Twenty20squad would have easily enough talent to win a World T20
    1. David Warner (vc)
    2. Aaron Finch
    3. Chris Lynn
    4. Steve Smith (c)
    5. Glenn Maxwell
    6. Ben Dunk (wk)
    7. Mitch Marsh
    8. James Faulkner
    9. Mitchell Starc
    10. Pat Cummins
    11. Adam Zampa

    12. Shaun Marsh
    13. Nathan Coulter-Nile
    14. Travis Head
    15. Michael Beer

    Top ten Australian players in the IPL this season:
    1. David Warner – 459 runs at 66 (strike rate 151) from nine matches.
    2. Andrew Tye – 12 wickets at 12 (economy rate 6.71) from six matches.
    3. Nathan Coulter-Nile – 11 wickets at 14 (economy rate 8.29) from five matches.
    4. Steve Smith – 320 runs at 53 (strike rate 136) from eight matches.
    5. Moises Henriques – 200 runs at 67 (strike rate 141) from eight matches.
    6. Glenn Maxwell – 193 runs at 32 (strike rate 179) plus three wickets at 22 from nine matches.
    7. Pat Cummins – nine wickets at 21 (economy rate 7.41) from seven matches.
    8. Chris Lynn – 125 runs at 125 (strike rate 193) from two matches.
    9. Shaun Marsh – 140 runs at 47 (strike rate 147) from four matches.
    10. Aaron Finch – 186 runs at 27 (strike rate 168) from eight matches.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (67)

    • May 2nd 2017 @ 7:46am
      English twizz said | May 2nd 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      Next World Cup in austrilla. Maybe start to pick a team to win the World Cup because England will want to win the World Cup at the MCG and if that can’t get you taking it seriously nothing will

      • May 4th 2017 @ 9:47am
        Stephen said | May 4th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        Can someone explain how khawaja is not even in the top 15 listed here, he averaged over 100 in the big bash in 2015 when Thunder took it out, didn’t get to play big bash last year so that doesn’t count and was opening the batting for us in the 2015 T20 world cup, surely he still gets a seat on the plane even if its as a reserve, people have very short memories.

        • May 4th 2017 @ 10:14am
          Ross said | May 4th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

          Khawaja single handidly won the big bash for the thunder with 2 centuries and a half century in the final against the Stars at tbr MCG, it was the best T20 batting I have seen and which actually lead to a title for a team who have always come last in the ladder

          • May 4th 2017 @ 10:43am
            Stephen said | May 4th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

            This is exactly my point Ross, i remember at the time khawaja wasn’t picked in the intial WC squad but after averaging over a 100(i think it was 175 from memory), they were forced to take him in the T20s but once again he only got 2 games only. Compare this to someone like Finch who has more then 50 games, his mistreatment at ODI level is well documented but the same applies for T20 too. He is a very capable T20 and ODI batsman and averages over 50 in domestic one day level and won the Thunder their only title ever but is still getting missed from our T20 squad which to me makes no sense.

            • May 4th 2017 @ 2:57pm
              Ross said | May 4th 2017 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

              I just checked and he scored 335 runs in his four games across the campaign when not tied down with international commitments. He was dismissed only twice in those four knocks which included a man of tbr match 77 in thr final. Imagine having a top 5 of Khawaja, Warner, smith, Lynn and maxwell

              • May 4th 2017 @ 9:00pm
                Amith said | May 4th 2017 @ 9:00pm | ! Report

                For khawaja to be pigon holed as a test cricketer is nothing new. He got pigeon-holed when he was about 20. he came in and the way he was playing four-day cricket for nsw, he was just batting time. he was just playing the way he should be playing four-day cricket. For some reason the coach [Matthew Mott] and the selectors at the time thought that that’s the way he would play one-day cricket, too, which made no sense to anyone beside them. But he showed everyone in domestic one day cricket how good he is, just a year ago he showed us his big bash form.

              • Columnist

                May 4th 2017 @ 10:21pm
                Ronan O'Connell said | May 4th 2017 @ 10:21pm | ! Report

                “Imagine having a top 5 of Khawaja, Warner, smith, Lynn and maxwell”

                T20I averages:

                Khawaja …. 27 (strike rate 132)

                Finch ……… 39 (strike rate 149)

                Straight forward choice Ron/Ross/Stephen/pseudonym.

              • May 5th 2017 @ 7:44am
                Ross said | May 5th 2017 @ 7:44am | ! Report

                Roman you need to stop confusing us, Stephen and me are different people , point here is that when Khawaja won the thunder the title and made almost 350 runs in just 4 innings he was rightly picked for Australia but only given 2 games in the World Cup, and now for him to be not in hour squad makes no sense and yes finch has a higher average but he has had a million more opportunities to get that too in both t20 and ODI

              • May 5th 2017 @ 8:55am
                Stephen said | May 5th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

                Dissapointed with your comments Ronan as I respect your writing and think you have great articles. I was at the semi final where Khawaja got 104 against Adelaide. He needed only 24 deliveries to score the fastest 50 in his team’s history, and then brought his century up from 55 deliveries with a six. Testimony to Khawaja’s surge during the power-play was he’d scored 48 runs to opening partner Shane Watson’s three. It was the best domestic T20 knock I have seen in a final or anywhere. Then he took out my Melbourne stars in the final and our agonising wait for BBL success continues. We have now made four semi-finals and one final in the first five editions of the Big Bash without lifting the trophy.

              • May 6th 2017 @ 12:10am
                Amith said | May 6th 2017 @ 12:10am | ! Report

                I think Khawaja can be an inspiration to the next generation. What we really want cricket to be is a sport that reflects the demographics of Australian society – men and women, boys and girls from all different backgrounds and Usman is certainly doing that.We don’t want to rest all that responsibility on just his shoulders alone though. There are lots of players of different types of backgrounds playing in the Big Bash League and state cricket and they will have their chance in the coming years. Khawaja is just the best example of that right now

              • May 6th 2017 @ 1:37pm
                Ross said | May 6th 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                Fantastic Amith

    • May 2nd 2017 @ 8:11am
      jonty smith said | May 2nd 2017 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      That’s a blazing team and it is hard to believe that we aren’t better at T20Is. My team would have one change: Tim Paine in, James Faulkner out. Paine’s a far superior keeper to dunk and is a more nimble batter if the innings goes pear shaped.

      Paine can go higher/lower depending on the situation

      • May 2nd 2017 @ 8:28am
        Joe Bell said | May 2nd 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        I think people are placing too much emphasis on what ifs in T20. I’ve held the belief for a while that teams need to go harder earlier and risk losing a couple games in the hopes your big hitters win you games which we are seeing frequently. I reckon Dunk is a better T20 bat than Paine due to his better boundary hitting. Read Kimber or Date on Cricinfo for their analysis on it. Warner and Smith can play that role fine and you are simply wasting resources on not having a better hitter there

      • May 2nd 2017 @ 8:28am
        Joe Bell said | May 2nd 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        Also I misread your comment apologies! No way would you drop Faulkner for Paine though! Paine doesn’t make the side and Dunk should be only keeper

        • May 2nd 2017 @ 9:10am
          Ross said | May 2nd 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          Great article and I noticed in tbr stats tbr finch again is struggling with only one score above 50 and averaging in the low 20s after today’s failure against Pune, can we please move him and put in either Lynn or marsh or Khawaja to open with Warner

      • Columnist

        May 2nd 2017 @ 12:33pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | May 2nd 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

        Jonty that’s a powerful batting lineup but it leaves Australia a bowler short – there’s only 5 bowling options in that team, including Maxwell.

        You really need at least six decent bowling options to give you flexibility in case one someone has a shocker with the ball and can’t be risked for their full four overs.

    • May 2nd 2017 @ 8:24am
      Tony H said | May 2nd 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      Hard to say too much about this article Ronan, except that it’s spot on.
      We absolutely waste our T20 talent, in spite of having great players, and the best (not biggest) T20 comp in the world!

    • May 2nd 2017 @ 8:37am
      Joe Bell said | May 2nd 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      Rate this team choice Ronan

    • May 2nd 2017 @ 8:38am
      Joe Bell said | May 2nd 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

      Although on current form (pretending that Tye didn’t just do his shoulder) I would have him in ahead of Faulkner

      • Columnist

        May 2nd 2017 @ 12:37pm
        Ronan O'Connell said | May 2nd 2017 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

        I really rate Tye as a T20 bowler, his knuckle ball is brilliant.

        But he’s looked extremely nervous playing for Australia, particularly once the pressure of the contest has risen, and he’s leaked runs (sky-high economy of 10.25rpo in his five T20I matches).

        • Roar Guru

          May 5th 2017 @ 8:54am
          Chris Kettlewell said | May 5th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          Yeah, he’s looked really poor in the matches he’s played for Australia to date. Like a completely different bowler.

    • May 2nd 2017 @ 9:19am
      Ross said | May 2nd 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      Tye and NCN have been fantastic this IPL, head and finch have been dissapointing, Warner and smith have lead from the front and kohli has continued his bad form

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