Pat Cummins says “in a perfect world” leading Australia in Test cricket would not be the first taste of captaincy for the likes of he and Marnus Labuschagne.
The Women’s T20 World Cup starts on February 21 when Australia meets India at the Sydney Showground Stadium.
There are ten teams divided into two groups, in which the teams will play each other in a round-robin until March 3 after which the top two teams in each group will play each other in a knock out semi-final. The final will be held at the MCG on March 8.
This is the seventh T20 World Cup and Australia are the defending champion, having won four out of the six previous iterations.
This year will be the first in which front-foot no balls will not be called by the umpires on the field, but by the third umpire. As this is new, we do not know how it will work out and whether it will affect games differently.
OUponanalysing the teams, there are only six with a chance to win. They are Australia, India and New Zealand in Group A and England, South Africa and West Indies in Group B.
The hot favourite is Australia and the probability is that they will meet India in the fina. The media is talking up 100,000 attendees for that game if Australia is in the final. I reckon that talk is a bit over the top but in any event, any crowd over 40,000 would be fantastic.
Why do I pick the Aussies to triumph?
Most team sporting events are won by the teams with the most elite players. I have defined an elite player as one in the top fifteen of the ICC women’s player rankings.
The six teams I mentioned above all have elite players both in bowling and batting.
The first four are England (three), New Zealand (four), South Africa (two) and West Indies (3).
But way ahead are Australia with 7: in terms of batting we have Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney (in the top five) and for bowling, there are Megan Schutt, Jess Jonassen, Ellyse Perry and Georgia Wareham.
India joins them with six: Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur batting, and Radha Yadav, Deepti Sharma and Poonam Yadav bowling.
There are two further relevant issues.
The Australian team is athletic and clearly the best fielding team out of all the participants. They hold their catches and hit the wickets.
2. Home ground advantage
Australia always plays better on Australian wickets.
Based on these factors, the final will be between Australia and India, with Australia winning.
Either way, we are in for a feast of T20 cricket over the next three weeks.