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Opinion

Chris Green could hold the key to Australia's first T20 World Cup

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Roar Guru
11th September, 2020
8

The 2020 edition of the Caribbean Premier League has come to an end, with the Trinbago Knight Riders going unbeaten in the tournament en route to a fourth title.

While the quality of the tournament didn’t match the standards of the previous editions, there was one player I looked out for throughout CPL 2020.

Captaining the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the absence of Shoaib Malik, a lot of responsibility fell on the shoulders of Chris Green this year.

Prior to being named captain, Green was under massive pressure as this tournament would be the first time he’d be bowling in a professional game since he was banned for an illegal bowling action in January 2020.

With a remodelled action, Green’s new bowling action is quite similar to Sunil Narine – both spinners having a high release point.

Before his ban, Green would bowl around the wicket almost every delivery, regardless of whether he was bowling to a right-hander or left-hander.

This CPL, Green’s remodelled action saw the Warriors’ skipper bowl over the wicket to right-handers, switching to around the wicket when bowling to left-handers.

Chris Green

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

In the 2020 CPL, Chris Green finished the tournament with figures of nine wickets for 213. With an average of 23.66 and an economy of 5.68, the numbers show how crucial Green was for the Guyana Amazon Warriors qualifying for the semi-finals before the St Lucia Zouks comprehensively outplayed them.

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Throughout the tournament, Green only went for an economy of eight twice in the tournament, showing how accurate his off-spinners were.

His best performance came against the Barbados Tridents, where he finished with figures of one for three after four overs. With 21 dot balls and two maidens, it’s the 11th most economical spell in T20 cricket (four-over spells only).

Green’s remodelled action has seen the off-spinner develop a deadly arm ball when bowling in the power play, straightening at the very last moment and trapping batsmen LBW.

The following figures show Chris Green’s numbers with both bat and ball for each T20 franchise he has played for to date.

Sydney Thunder – 48 T20 matches
Batting stats – 351 runs, 18.47 average, 135.52 strike rate, zero fifties
Bowling stats – 33 wickets, 30.63 average, 7.06 economy

Birmingham Bears – six T20 matches
Batting stats – 40 runs, 13.33 average, 125.0 strike rate, zero fifties
Bowling stats – five wickets, 29.00 average, 6.69 economy

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Multan Sultans – five T20 matches
Batting stats – 27 runs, 13.5 average, 93.1 strike rate, zero fifties
Bowling stats – four wickets, 27.75 average, 6.52 economy

Guyana Amazon Warriors – 34 T20 matches
Batting stats – 105 runs, 8.75 average, 105.0 strike rate, zero fifties
Bowling stats – 32 wickets, 23.62 average, 6.15 economy

Total – 93 T20 matches
Batting stats – 523 runs, 14.52 average, 124.52 strike rate, zero fifties
Bowling stats – 74 wickets, 27.33 average, 6.64 economy

As the numbers show, Green has shown his control with the ball and taken wickets in crucial stages, and his lower-order batting can give teams an extra five or ten runs at the end. I was worried after his ban whether Green could step up again, but his CPL performances prove that he’s up to the task.

Green’s CPL performances show that he’s breathing down the neck of Australia’s T20I squad. The great thing about this is that it ensures that Ashton Agar knows he has to perform well consistently or else he’ll be dropped.

After all, that’s what’s needed in Australian cricket: proper competition for places to ensure no player feels complacent about their position in the Australian squad.

Ashton Agar

(Photo by Mark Brake – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

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With the 2020 CPL done and dusted, Green travels to the UAE to link up with the Kolkata Knight Riders. With the slow wickets on offer in the UAE, Green will enjoy bowling on the UAE tracks and continue to give himself a chance to impress the Australian selectors.

The 2021 T20 World Cup is set to take place in India (UAE and Sri Lanka are other alternatives), meaning that Australia are likely to choose a third spinner in their 15-man squad. And they should.

In a format like T20 cricket, a horses-for-courses approach will do Australia more good than harm. Look at New Zealand in the 2016 T20 World Cup, which was hosted in India. They went ahead with three spinners in Mitch Santner, Nathan McCullum and Ish Sodhi while dropping Tim Southee and Trent Boult en route to winning all four of their group games before being outplayed by England in the semi-final.

A spin trio of Adam Zampa, Ashton Agar and Chris Green for next year’s T20 World Cup in India could be what gets Australia their maiden T20 World Cup title.