Australia will take just four specialist bowlers into their Twenty20 World Cup opener against South Africa, with Aaron Finch putting faith in all-rounders with the ball.
The men’s T20 World Cup is starting in a few weeks’ time, and it is going to be a weird one.
We are still in a global pandemic. It is going to be played in the great cricketing nations of the UAE and Oman.
To be honest, I don’t really think any Australian fan has discussed it just due to Covid has shaped our last months and Aussie cricket fans are more focused on the Ashes which will be going ahead on December 8th.
It feels to me it will be probably a forgettable tournament from an Australian point of view as the lead up has been tricky with Covid and the form of stars Steve Smith and David Warner, who are struggling in the IPL, should send alarm bells ringing.
Looking through the squad it is a strange mix of power hitting and over-reliant on Test fringe players comparing to other teams. For example, the West Indies have gone in the tournament with a heavily experienced T20 team.
This includes Andre Fletcher, Andre Russell, Fabian Allen, Oshane Thomas and both Bravo brothers. All had successful CPL tournaments not to mention the Windies will still have Chris Gayle and we all know what he can do with the bat. One surprising omission for the West Indies is Evin Lewis who averages at 32 with the bat in T20 cricket and was awesome to watch in the CPL.
Australia’s form in this format has been poor as we saw in the series against Bangladesh and the West Indies with no chemistry in terms of batting line-up and bowling partnerships.
Furthermore, spin will be huge in this tournament due to playing on slow wickets and the recent comments by Ricky Pointing who has been coaching in the IPL saying “They actually seem quite tired, and they’re slow and low already. That’s probably not a good sign for what the wickets might be like for the World Cup.”
This will favour the likes of Sri Lanka bringing in 21-year-old mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana who made Quinton de Kock a great player of spin, be bamboozled and Sri Lanka should get out of the qualifiers and into Australia’s group easily. We could see this 21-year-old making the Australian cricketers look like second rate batsmen.
But it won’t be all doom and gloom I think Australia have an opportunity to go far in the tournament if the likes of Smith, Warner, Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell get the batting side fix up, especially “the big show”.
Maxwell’s form in the IPL has been superb with the last game he played in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore with 40 off 25 balls and has 407 runs in the tournament comparing to Dan Christian with merely five runs. Maxwell, I believe, is Australia barometer in T20 cricket if he gets going then Australia will go a long way in this tournament but if he doesn’t it will be a tough one.
So with it all this in mind the pleasing factor the matches are at a perfect viewing time for all Aussie fans and with half of the nation still in some sought of lockdown, we will be willing the green and gold on in the sands of the Middle East and let’s hope Australia bring back the trophy that has eluded us.