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Australia needs a radically different World Cup squad

Roar Rookie
10th March, 2019
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Roar Rookie
10th March, 2019
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The team that Australia will take to the 2019 Cricket World Cup will be knocked out before the finals.

The stark truth is that only two sides – England and West Indies – are capable of making 400 multiple times in the tournament.

South Africa, New Zealand and India have line-ups that seem eminently capable of doing it and have frequently show the ability to comfortably make 350.

The Australian side picked in the last 18 months struggles tooth and nail to score 300, while the prospect of 400 remains out of sight for even the most one-eyed fan.

The side the selectors will pick is utterly incapable of scoring 350 regularly and has a very close to zero chance of scoring 400 at all.

Coming up against sides who will do so, it would be more sensible to pick a team who have the ability to put up mammoth totals and may fail, rather than picking a side who will be doing well to strike at 90-95 while struggling to make 300.

The side I would choose is a risk, but it is wiser to take a chance on the players who have a chance – however small it may be – to put up huge totals, rather than pick a side that extensive evidence suggests is incapable of scoring at the rate ODI cricket in 2019 demands.

My line-up is David Warner, Max Bryant, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell (captain), Matt Wade, Marcus Stoinis, Josh Philippe (wicketkeeper), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa and one of Nathan Lyon, Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Coulter-Nile. The two other members of the squad are D’Arcy Short and Ashton Turner.

Aaron Finch of Australia bats

(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

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Notably Aaron Finch has been dropped from the side and Glenn Maxwell made captain.

Finch’s score in the third ODI against India felt like an aberration and his performance tonight in the fourth has proven it to be so.

Never before has a player been so comprehensively worked out and reliably dismissed the same way for such a long period of time.

Even during his innings of 93 two nights ago he was hit multiple times on the pads by balls angling in to him and he was incredibly lucky not to get out.

Tonight’s innings was just confirmation that the 93 was the exception to the rule with Finch again bowled by an admittedly excellent in-swinger.

As such, with leadership options sparse, Glenn Maxwell takes the captaincy. Maxwell was trusted by Kings XI Punjab to take the captaincy over Murali Vijay in the IPL and he is undoubtedly an astute cricketer.

This is somewhat of a risk and despite diminishing returns with the bat, Finch has been a strong captain.

The risk in appointing Maxwell is in line with the underlying premise of the squad – the current team does not have a sufficient chance of winning the tournament so we should take a risk on a team that might.

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Warner and Smith both come back into the squad on the premise they perform in the warm-up games.

It is a difficult decision especially given they will not get the chance to play in the Pakistan series but assuming both begin where they left off, they should both be there.

Hopefully both come out with a point to prove, and unburdened by any weight of leadership roles – although the reality is they will be under enormous media, crowd and likely opponent verbal abuse throughout the tournament.

In the event they cannot perform, they should be replaced in the 11 by Short and Turner.

The inexperienced Bryant and Philippe have been picked for the combination of their versatility and striking ability.

Both have shown the ability to strike at extraordinary rates in T20 cricket, List A games and both have put in memorable performances against touring Test sides.

They are both exceptional talents and it is worth gambling on players with the ability to match it with the West Indies and England at their best.

The other controversial pick is Matt Wade but the numbers he has put up this year make an irrepressible case for selection.

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Wade did not seem up to the task in his last stint in international cricket, but he has clearly done what has been asked of every cricketer who gets dropped from the Australian side: go back and make runs.

And he has made them in style, with 592 runs at a strike rate of 147 in the BBL to go with 750 runs at an average of 57.7 in the Sheffield Shield shows a batsman capable of batting in every gear for reasonable lengths of time.

Wade is at his peak and a far stronger batsman than the last time he played for Australia.

The bowling attack is unlikely to cause any controversy, the only real question being whether one or two spinners are played and that should be chosen according to conditions.

The fast bowlers should be rotated out depending on form and injury with Pat Cummins probably the only certainty and Mitchell Starc hopefully capable of rapidly bowling himself into the form he maintained throughout the 2015 World Cup.

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This will likely be a controversial team selection but we should gamble on a team that has a significant chance of scoring big, rather than a team relying on outdated tactics and exceptional bowling every game.