The Australian one-day side if the World Cup started tomorrow

Zac Standish Roar Pro

By Zac Standish, Zac Standish is a Roar Pro


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    Things have turned from bad to worse for the Australian one-day cricket team recently, having won just two of their past ten white ball encounters.

    This period includes a big series against India in October 2017 and England this year, which Australia lost 4-1 after looking extremely average.

    In what is now our worst ever period for 50-over cricket, changes simply must be made to the personnel, structure and tactics of the side as we close in on another ICC World Cup in 2019.

    With one-day cricket packed in with the longer five-day format, players struggle to handle the workload, with fast bowlers in particular tending to rest while the team is in an ODI series. This has been apparent throughout the past week, with crucial quicks Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood sitting out of matches for resting purposes.

    The selectors have also shown a reluctance to select players from the Test squad for the ODI squad, as capable short-format players Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja and Nathan Lyon continually prove their worth in the Big Bash.

    So let’s say for some crazy reason the first match of Australia’s World Cup campaign was tomorrow, this would be the full-strength side I would select.

    The batsmen

    1. David Warner, vice-captain – games played: 106; ODI average: 43.43; centuries: 14
    The only Australian representative in the 2017 ODI team of the year, David Warner has been a consistent performer at the top of the order in this one-day side for a number of years. Renowned for his power hitting, the pocket rocket is one of the most damaging players in world cricket as he can take the game away from the opposition in a matter of overs.

    As the left-hander has matured he has added another dimension to his game. He is able to take a back seat and let his equally as destructive partner take the reins. His on-field leadership is also crucial to the side as vice-captain, with his presence vital both in the middle when batting and in the field.

    Fielding-wise David Warner is as good as they come, with an excellent set of hands, extreme pace and a rocket arm that makes any batsman think twice. Warner is Australia’s best short-form cricketer and would be crucial to our chances in a tournament like the World Cup.

    (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

    2. Aaron Finch – games played: 88; ODI average: 38.55; centuries: 10
    How things have changed for Aaron Finch. After a tough period in both domestic and international cricket Finch has returned with a bang this summer, hitting two hundreds and a 50 in the first three games of this ODI series.

    One of the only players who can hold their heads high in the first three matches, Finch is hitting the ball as cleanly as ever, with English bowlers simply having no response to his brutality at the crease.

    Similar to Warner, the big Victorian is renowned for his big hitting and his ability to turn over the scoreboard, which makes his opening partnership with David Warner one of the most dangerous in world cricket.

    Also like Warner, Finch has matured with age, and this summer he has learnt to read the match situation better and adjust his game accordingly, a skill that has taken his game to the next level.

    In the field Finch is no liability. He sports an excellent pair of hands and provides experience and leadership to his younger teammates.

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    3. Usman Khawaja – games played: 18; ODI average: 31.26; centuries: none
    The first shock selection of my team, I feel that Usman Khawaja is the ideal man to bat at three in the Australian one-day team. Exploding onto the Test scene with a massive summer in 2015-16, Usman Khawaja has also developed into an excellent short-form player at both domestic and franchise level for the Sydney Thunder and Queensland Bulls.

    Sporting some of the most exquisite stroke play in world cricket, Khawaja is unstoppable once he gets going, making him the perfect foil for Warner and Finch at three.

    The selectors’ recent reluctance to play the Queensland captain at one-day level is astounding considering the poor fortunes the team has experienced in recent times. With the ability to either stabilise the innings or accelerate, Khawaja is the player I feel most comfortable having at three.

    In the field Khawaja has also improved dramatically as he now sports an excellent pair of hands and improved arm and mobility around the field.

    It’s time the selectors exploit his skill at all levels of cricket for Australia.

    (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

    4. Steve Smith, captain – games played: 108; ODI average: 41.84; centuries: eight
    The captain of the one-day side, Steve Smith is the perfect anchor for this team of flamboyant big hitters. Although his one-day numbers are not nearly as good as his Test numbers, Smith is still one of the best players in the world and provides the cool head this Australian batting line-up needs.

    With an average of 42.68 and eight centuries, he has by no means been a bad one-day player. However, with the reputation he has as the world’s best player, I for one expect a little more from the skipper.

    Unable to pass 50 in the first three one-day internationals, it may just be that Smith is worn out after a long summer of Test cricket. However, with the side’s ranking going down so dramatically in recent times he really needs to step up and prove he can transfer his once-in-a-generation play into the yellow shirt.

    Batting-wise Smith serves as a pivotal piece of this side as he can use his general batting smart to hit gaps and constantly tick over the scoreboard before going big at the end of the innings. In the field Smith is truly superb, and his leadership is essential as captain of the side.

    (Philip Brown/Getty Images)

    The all-rounders

    5. Glenn Maxwell – games played: 81; ODI average: 32.32; wickets: 45
    By far the toughest position to choose in this team, I have decided to go with the experience and x-factor of Glenn Maxwell over the big hitting of Mitchell Marsh.

    This is an extremely controversial call for a number of reasons, as Marsh has had an exceptional summer at both Test and one-day level. However, the Big Show, as he is commonly referred to, just edges him out mainly due to his ability in clutch situations and his experience in a tournament like the World Cup.

    At his best Maxwell is one of the most destructive players in world cricket – he has the ability to take the game away from the opposition in a matter of overs.

    Glenn has also grown tremendously over the past year, having integrated a sense of maturity into his batting, which has seen him able to bat for longer periods of times. This has seen him produce some positive results in red-ball cricket – he hit his first Test century in India in April 2017 and a first-class double ton in December 2017.

    In the field Maxwell is Australia’s best, with his rapid speed and incredible arm crucial assets to this one-day team.

    (Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

    6. Marcus Stoinis – games played: 13; ODI average: 62.88; wickets: seven
    Another bright spot in an otherwise gloomy one-day series, Marcus Stoinis has cemented his place in this Australian team. Known for his big hitting, Stoinis is a player who can take the game away from the opposition in a matter of minutes.

    After exploding onto the scene with a magnificent hundred against New Zealand at Eden Park a year ago that almost gave the Australians an unlikely victory, the West Australian has become a regular in the one-day set-up. At 28 years old Stoinis is just hitting his prime as an international cricketer and would without a doubt serve as an integral part of the Australian team moving forward.

    With the ability to bat anywhere in the order, Stoinis gives his captain versatility as he can come in either early to mount pressure on the opposition or later on to finish an innings. He is also more than handy with the ball in hand and can provide anywhere from five to ten overs of steady fast-mediums.

    (AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford)

    The wicketkeeper

    7. Tim Paine, wicketkeeper – games played: 30; ODI average: 31.62; dismissals: 45
    After getting hardly a game for his state Shield team just four months ago, Tim Paine has exploded back onto the international cricket scene. A shock selection in Australia’s Ashes squad, Paine rewarded the selectors with an excellent summer both behind the stumps and with the bat when required.

    His excellent performances in the Test side saw him picked for the one-day series, where again he hasn’t disappointed. His glove work has been exceptional and his batting has been extremely handy for a number seven.

    Although he isn’t a big hitter like the men before him, Paine is more than capable of finding the rope and excellent at reading the situation of the game and adjusting his batting to fit certain scenarios. Paine is the perfect wicketkeeper-batsman for this team as at the age of 33 he acts as an experienced head of a middle order that boasts a lot of firepower.

    With Alex Carey waiting in the wings, Australia’s wicketkeeping stocks look extremely solid at the moment, as the Tasmanian looks to develop his game further to become one of the best number sevens in world cricket.

    (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

    The bowlers

    8. Pat Cummins – games played: 39; bowling average: 28.45; wickets: 64
    Another sensation of the summer, Pat Cummins has finally delivered on the early promise he showed when he made his Test debut in South Africa in late 2011. Following his introduction to the international cricket scene, Cummins went through a harrowing period of injury that saw him out of the Test team for six years as he simply could not get his body right to undertake a full five days of cricket.

    Although he did play some white-ball cricket in this time, including bits of the 2015 World Cup, Cummins was reintroduced to the Test team on Australia’s gallant tour of India and has been almost flawless ever since. Now with a full summer under his belt, having played five Tests and four ODIs, Cummins again looks like the future of Australian cricket and a shoo-in for all formats of the game.

    Cummins’s pace and bounce is what makes him such a problem for opposition batsmen, as on any surface he is able to ruffle players up and make them constantly uncomfortable at the crease. Even if he’s not taking wickets, coming in at first change he is always able to do a job for his team and is excellent at bowling in partnerships with the likes of Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.

    This summer has also seen Cummins develop his batting, with some very handy runs in the Ashes series seeing him overtake Starc at number eight and show great promise in being a genuine bowling all-rounder.

    (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    9. Mitchell Starc – games played: 72; bowling average: 20.95; wickets: 141
    The heart and soul of the Australian attack, Mitchell Starc is one of the best bowlers in world cricket at the moment, with his searing pace and accuracy a nightmare for all opposition batsmen.

    Although having been around for a number of years prior, Starc really exploded onto the international cricket scene at the 2015 World Cup, where he won player of the tournament, with 22 wickets at an average of 10. Since then Starc has been a mainstay in the Australian one-day and Test sides as he has really matured as an elite frontline bowler.

    Although he can be expensive at times, Starc always gives you a wicket-taking chance, and at his best he can be simply unplayable, sending down 150-kilometre-per-hour thunderbolts at batsmen’s toes.

    The leader of the three-headed monster that is Australia’s fast bowling attack, he is among the first picked for this side as he can turn a match on its head in a matter of minutes.

    A great example of this was in the early stages of the 2015 World Cup, when Australia were defending a small total of 151 at Eden Park. With New Zealand appearing to be cruising to a big victory, Starc came into the attack and ripped the heart out of the Kiwi’s middle order, taking 6/28. Australia lost by just one wicket.

    Along with his bowling, Starc is also more than capable with the bat and will pick up crucial runs at number nine.

    (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

    10. Josh Hazlewood – games played: 41; bowling average: 24.27; wickets: 69
    The third quick selected for this team, Josh Hazlewood has developed into one of the world’s best fast bowlers due to his consistency, pace and bounce. With glaring similarities to the great Glen McGrath, Hazlewood has had a magnificent start to his career, taking lots of wickets at a very good average.

    This success has mainly been due to his ability to constantly hit an awkward length, as he constantly leaves batsmen guessing as to whether they should play or not play or go forward or go back. With 69 wickets in his first 41 games, the sky is the limit for the Bendemeer bullet.

    He is the glue guy that keeps this young core of excellent Australian fast bowlers together. Whether he is opening the bowling looking for quick wickets or closing out an innings, Hazlewood always does his job for the team, making him such an integral part of the Australian set-up in all formats.

    With many years of high-end cricket still to go, Hazlewood has the potential to be an all-time great fast bowler for Australia and, like Starc, a selection lock for just about all formats of the game.

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    11. Nathan Lyon – games played: 13; bowling average: 34.82; wickets: 17
    The final slot in my ODI team, this is another extremely controversial one as Lyon is not currently in the one-day squad. However, his form over the summer in both the Test matches and the Big Bash League sees him in Australia’s best side to win a World Cup tomorrow.

    The greatest of all time, as he is affectionally known, is a class bowler by any definition, having claimed the most Test wickets for 2017 and seemingly getting better with age. Criticised in the past for leaking too many runs and for bowling inconsistently, he has gotten over those struggles to become a real handful for opposition batsmen.

    Known for his flight, spin and bounce in the Test arena, he was unplayable at times throughout the Ashes series as the English left-handers in particular simply could not handle his skill.

    Despite his success with the red ball, white-ball cricket is very different as spinners really need to adapt to the changes in the ball, field regulations and batsmen’s intent. Playing for the Sydney Sixers after the Test series concluded, Lyon has proved he can adapt to these changes as he helped lead the team to four straight wins, ending the season with seven wickets in four matches, an economy rate of 5.88 and an average of 13.40. These are truly outstanding numbers and proof that Lyon deserves another chance at international limited-overs cricket.

    Lyon is also an excellent fielder in the point/cover region and provides yet another experienced head to the side at 30 years of age.

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    The Crowd Says (61)

    • February 6th 2018 @ 3:18am
      Ajay said | February 6th 2018 @ 3:18am | ! Report

      “Warner is Australia’s best short-form cricketer and would be crucial to our chances in a tournament like the World Cup.” Hahaha joke! An absolute joke about Warner.

      I am penning it down, he WILL never perform in crucial moments, and would repeat his 2015 performances, maybe against helpless Windies. Please do remind me a single inning when he led Australia to victory in ODIs, and especially in big tournaments. He may be a good test player, but he is not better than Head, Finch in ODIs. So, Head- Finch combo would be a decent choice. Don’t know how he evades the scrutiny Maxwell has to pass, despite having good ODI record with sensational strike rate.

      P.S- you didn’t include M.Marsh, who is surely as good as Stoinis in ODIS, if not better.

      • Roar Guru

        February 6th 2018 @ 10:09am
        JamesH said | February 6th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        Gee, let me think… Um, how about the fourth ODI in India last year, where he scored 124? You know, the only match we actually won in that series. That was the second last ODI we played before this summer, so it’s not like I had to go back that far.

        I’d even point out his 45 off 46 in the final of the 2015 World Cup, after losing Finch early. That knock gave Australia all the momentum in their innings.

        Warner has had his ups and downs like any cricketer (except Kohli and de Villiers, who are freaks) but it’s impossible to be ranked number 3 in the world and not be bloody good.

        • February 6th 2018 @ 1:15pm
          Adam said | February 6th 2018 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

          We had lost the series, so the pressure was off. We won the 4th ODI against England as well. I wouldn’t give too much credit to players stats once a series has been lost.

          Warner will come good again, no doubt about it.

        • February 6th 2018 @ 1:43pm
          spruce moose said | February 6th 2018 @ 1:43pm | ! Report


          There’s not a chance that Warner should be picked in a world cup team tomorrow. His present form is appalling.

          And while Ajay may have been exaggerating a tad with his claims that Warner will never perform when it matters, it has truth. The majority of his centuries have been scored at the end of a series where the result is known and wrapped up.

          He’s NEVER scored a century in the opening match of a series, and only once in the second match. The majority of his centuries are in the 4th or 5th match of a series.

          His average in live games since Jan 1 2017 is 22.

          These do point to larger trends that he cannot stamp his authority on a game that counts.

          And you can add Amla to the list of ODI freaks. He’s simply never in poor form. For almost every ODI record that Kohli breaks, Amla actually breaks them quietly later on. He doesn’t just break them either. He shatters them. And he’s done it primarily as an opener. Remarkable.

          • Roar Guru

            February 6th 2018 @ 2:30pm
            JamesH said | February 6th 2018 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

            I had assumed in my comment below that the author was picking on more than just current form, since there would also be question marks over Smith and Starc.

            As for the stat you’ve quoted, that’s misleading:
            – it’s not actually true; his first two centuries came in the first two games of a tri-series final, while his third was in the opening game of a series;
            – by my count, more than half of his centuries have come in ‘live’ matches; and
            – well over half of Warner’s half-centuries have come in the first two matches of a series, and nearly all of them have come in the first three.

            It’s not as if he isn’t playing vital roles during live matches.

            Ajay asked for a single innings where Warner won a game for his country, so I gave him a very recent example. He said Warner never performs in crucial moments, so I cited the World Cup final (which isn’t even included in the above stats). As I said, you can’t be ranked number 3 in the world without being very, very good.

            I agree on Amla. I guess he just isn’t as flashy as others, which is why he doesn’t get the headlines.

            • February 6th 2018 @ 3:37pm
              spruce moose said | February 6th 2018 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

              By my count (and that of cricinfo) 5 are live centuries, and as you’ve noted, 3 of those were in tri-series.

              And if I recall correctly, despite you praising a 45 in a low chase, the only time Warner passed 50 in the entire world cup was against Afghanistan. The rest of his tournament was frankly ordinary.

              He’s a quality cricketer, don’t get me wrong, but he for some reason seems to be nearly immune from any criticism or objective analysis. He’s not of the quality to be a default selection either. The world cup will be in England where he has his worst record of all.

              On current form, he’s no business near a limited overs team, especially not one picked for tomorrow, in England.

              • February 6th 2018 @ 3:59pm
                qwetzen said | February 6th 2018 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

                “he [Warner] for some reason seems to be nearly immune from any criticism or objective analysis.”

                Clue: Slater, MJ and Taylor, MA.

                Muh ha ha ha…

              • Roar Guru

                February 6th 2018 @ 4:30pm
                JamesH said | February 6th 2018 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

                He does seem to escape criticism, but you don’t fix that by overreacting in the other direction. BTW, I counted 7 hundreds in live matches, even without the one against Afghanistan.

                His 2015 World Cup was ordinary but he saved his most important knock for the biggest game – isn’t that the whole issue here?

              • February 6th 2018 @ 4:45pm
                spruce moose said | February 6th 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

                I would argue that dropping him isn’t an overreaction, it is what should happen.

                It is exactly what would happen for any other player sans Steve Smith and him.

                His form is poor.

              • Roar Guru

                February 6th 2018 @ 4:45pm
                JamesH said | February 6th 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

                The overreaction I was referring to is they way people are downplaying his record. Questioning current form is fine (I did it with Smith), although he was travelling well before this last series. Enough to make the 2017 ICC team of the year, at any rate.

                I should also add – his last 5 ODIs in England (i.e. everything from 2014 onward) have produced 139 runs with a 50 and two not-outs, at an average of 46 and a strike rate of 91. It’s probably a bit rough to rely on that as a reason not to pick him.

              • February 6th 2018 @ 5:27pm
                Ajay said | February 6th 2018 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

                That was my point, he doesn’t score when matters in Odis. Why would you pick him when you have Head who is clearly better in Odis? Also, you are referring to Indian series, need I mention again what Spruce has said? Even in T20s, he does the same.

              • February 6th 2018 @ 6:32pm
                Ben said | February 6th 2018 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

                Head is not better. He had one good game and was poor in India.

              • February 6th 2018 @ 7:57pm
                Nudge said | February 6th 2018 @ 7:57pm | ! Report

                Have you been drinking Ajay? I’m going to give you the benefit of doubt and say that you have been. I’m South Australian and I still can’t get Travis Head even in the discussion with Warner.
                Warner’s one day stats are as follow. Average 43.43 strike rate 96.55. Head’s one day stats are, average 36.68 strike rate 87.71. He’s not even in the ball park. Then you can add Warner’s electric ground fielding, and Head would be pretty close to the worst fielder in the Australian team. Just in case you were going to add Head’s handy off spin, he averages 61.41 at close to 6 an over.

            • February 6th 2018 @ 7:29pm
              Brasstax said | February 6th 2018 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

              I would include Rohit Sharma as an ODI freak. The guy has 3 ODI double hundreds and can do what Chris Gayle does, but with effortless exquisite stroke play instead of intimidating muscle powered hitting. When in flow no other batsman in world cricket is easier on the eyes.

              • Roar Guru

                February 7th 2018 @ 12:25am
                Paul D said | February 7th 2018 @ 12:25am | ! Report

                Agreed on that one – Sharma is a bit to ODI cricket what Sehwag was to test cricket, when he’s on, there’s no stopping him

                Spruce – must agree on Amla too, he has been quietly shattering all of Kohli’s speed to runs records in ODI cricket for some years now. I think he holds fastest up to 5000. Will have to check.

                I think he’s the best batsman to watch in the world and has been for some years, right up there with Martyn and M Waugh for artistic merit.

    • February 6th 2018 @ 6:49am
      Mitch said | February 6th 2018 @ 6:49am | ! Report

      Coulter Nile

    • Roar Guru

      February 6th 2018 @ 8:16am
      Ryan H said | February 6th 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      I wouldn’t mind seeing Warner down the order a bit further, because he’s capable of playing either a controlling innings, or coming in and hitting from the get go. His last few ODI’s make me think he could benefit from it. I also think if Khawaja is in the team – which I love, by the way – he needs to open; he plays almost exclusively at the top of the order in domestic OD and BBL matches where he looks so dangerous.

      Huge fan of Tim Paine yet would like to see him as the test keeper only. Not sure he is a stronger enough hitter to come in at 7 where he often is required to go hard immediately. He just doesn’t find the boundary enough, so either Carey at 7 who will come in and give it a thud or someone like Handscomb or Bancroft at 4/5 could free up a hitter down at 7 for the final 5-10 overs.

      Still very undecided if I want to see Smith in this side too. Obviously he will never be ‘dropped’ because you just can’t drop someone of his quality, but playing short-form might be doing him more harm than good.


    • Roar Guru

      February 6th 2018 @ 9:19am
      Scott Pryde said | February 6th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      I can’t see Khawaja or Paine being there, but otherwise, pretty much on the money. For the record, I’d be going with Travis Head and Alex Carey as the replacements.

    • February 6th 2018 @ 9:22am
      Paul said | February 6th 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      I think you run a risk of choosing players who are not in good ODI form if you pick a side, rather than picking a squad, where you have more guys to choose from. If you look at the side in this article, Warner, Smith, Starc and Cummins are in indifferent form at best and Kahwaja and Lyon haven’t played a recent ODI international.

      I’m not saying leave these guys out, just bolster the quad with in form players; Head, Tye and MM come to mind and no doubt there are others in the frame.

      I’d also make Warner captain, drop him down the order to allow Head & Finch to open and either player Smith as a batsman only or leave him out entirely, depending on the circumstances of the game.

      ODI series are much more unforgiving for choosing players out of form, hoping quality will get them across the line. We need to select guys who are in form and are suited to conditions. That’s why. for example, we might not go with 3 genuine quicks in England because of the flat pitches and small boundaries.

      I don’t think we need to change a lot, just get off to better starts and make better use of the guys in the team but above all, select players in form.

      • Roar Guru

        February 6th 2018 @ 9:57am
        JamesH said | February 6th 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        I agree, although you’re being rough on Cummins. He started the recent series with a couple of underwhelming performances but was man of the match in the fourth game.

      • February 6th 2018 @ 1:45pm
        spruce moose said | February 6th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

        You’ve questioned whether Warner should be in the team, then transitioned to appointing him captain?

        • Roar Guru

          February 6th 2018 @ 2:09pm
          Scott Pryde said | February 6th 2018 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

          Well, that was the quickest double take in history.

        • Roar Guru

          February 6th 2018 @ 2:31pm
          JamesH said | February 6th 2018 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

          Good pickup, lol.

        • February 6th 2018 @ 9:00pm
          Paul said | February 6th 2018 @ 9:00pm | ! Report

          if he gets picked he captains the side. Pretty simple.

    • February 6th 2018 @ 9:32am
      qwetzen said | February 6th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

      So your solution to stopping the slump is to pick players who have played a significant part in it. Novel.