Rain has ensured Australia cannot lose the three-match T20I series against India, but the home team should change their batting lineup today to cover for the ragged form of D’Arcy Short.
Not only is Short struggling for runs, but he’s also wasting a huge number of deliveries and playing out far too many dot balls, a criminal offence in the shortest format.
In his last six T20Is Short has made just 37 runs from 57 balls at an average of 6. The biggest concern is his extraordinarily slow strike rate of 65, which equates to a run rate of just 3.9 runs per over, a figure that is unacceptably slow in ODIs, let alone in T20 cricket.
That figure somehow gets even worse when you consider that Short has faced most of those deliveries in the Power Play, having opened in four of those six matches and batted first drop in another.
Short had a very good start to his T20I career but has now been found out by opposition teams. Not only is he continuing to labour against spin, but he is also being blanketed by pace, which was considered his strength when Short began his international career.
Quicks have realised that Short craves the chance to free his arms to hammer the ball through the off side or to open up his front hip and blast to the leg side.
So they’re cramping him for room and Short, at this stage, has no answer to this tactic. His reliance on boundaries means bowlers able to tuck him up in this manner can join several dot balls together and pressure Short into trying to manufacture a big shot.
Until he can remedy this problem, Short should not be in the Australian T20I side. His presence in the top order is also affecting the balance of the side, with Ben McDermott and Alex Carey stuck down at six and seven when their batting styles make them best suited to the top three.
With opener Aaron Finch suddenly looking scratchy and Chris Lynn yet to find his feet in T20Is Australia’s top order is a mess. It is also very one-paced, with Finch, Lynn and Short typically eschewing singles in favour of scoring in blocks of four and six.
For the deciding third match against India today, Australia should play Carey in his favoured spot at the top of the order with the instructions to rotate the strike and anchor the innings. Should Carey be dismissed early, then Australia should consider promoting McDermott up the order to take over that role from the wicketkeeper.
Short’s form warrants him being dropped, opening up a place for spin all-rounder Ashton Agar at seven behind McDermott. Agar has been Australia’s second-most economical bowler in T20Is this year – after leg-spinner Adam Zampa – going at a miserly 6.97 runs per over.
An attack of Mitchell Starc, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Andrew Tye, Zampa and Agar is close to Australia’s best-possible combination, even with all players fit and available.
Australia’s best lineup for today’s third T20I against India in Sydney
1. Aaron Finch
2. Alex Carey (wk)
3. Chris Lynn
4. Glenn Maxwell
5. Marcus Stoinis
6. Ben McDermott
7. Ashton Agar
8. Nathan Coulter-Nile
9. Mitchell Starc
10. Andrew Tye
11. Adam Zampa