After a week of off-field focus on Cricket Australia, we can finally look at some on-field news. Head selector George Bailey has picked his first squad in the role. Australia has announced its T20 squad for the World Cup.
After numerous big-name Australian players opted out of the winter tours to the West Indies and Bangladesh, the carrot was dangled to Australia’s next rung of players with the clear message of seize the day and earn your way onto the World Cup plane.
After many failed to take the opportunity, a total of eight that played in the West Indies or Bangladesh series have missed out. The big boys in Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, and David Warner have returned to the squad and will all be at the World Cup.
The bolter of the squad was Western Australia’s Josh Inglis, whose inclusion is the biggest surprise for many, although those looking close assumed he was very close to the squad.
New Chairman of selectors George Bailey spoke to the media after the squad was announced.
Inglis has been impressing scoring bulk runs in the UK. He is currently the leading run-scorer in the T20 Blast. It has been an incredible 12 months for Inglis, and he has finally been rewarded with Australian selection. Bailey spoke on the surprise Inglis selection.
“Josh has been on the radar for a while. His performance not just in T20 but across all formats has been very impressive over the last 12 months.
“There was a lot of challenges around the decisions from bringing guys back from playing in the UK. We had spoken to Josh about playing in the Blast and hopefully The Hundred and him continuing to push his case that way.”
With Inglis coming in and filling the backup wicket-keeping role, Alex Carey is one to miss out after having captained his country only last month. Bailey was clear that Carey’s exclusion is based on T20 form only and praised his ODI game.
“Really clear it’s just based on performances, and I want to be really distinct between separating One Day and T20 cricket here. His one-day cricket has been fantastic. I’ve been impressed by not just how he played in the recent series but how he led the team in pretty challenging circumstances.
“I see him playing a lot of cricket for Australia and having a huge role in the leadership of the team.”
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Last week, it was announced by Cricket Australia that they would be issuing no-objection certificates to the IPL players. This announcement received some criticism, with many thinking that keeping the World Cup squad together would be more critical. However, George Bailey is confident in the preparation the IPL will give.
“I have full trust that the IPL is good preparation. We don’t know what the domestic schedule is going to look like, and we will have to be flexible with that.”
During the recent series against the West Indies and Bangladesh, the biggest question raised was a finisher. Inglis coming into the squad somewhat answers this, but Bailey also addressed it.
“I think Marcus Stoinis has been really good in that role. A role that at some points, he has been learning on the job. I think Matthew Wade can finish the inning well, and again confident in Josh Inglis in that role.”
Captain Aaron Finch remains a key cog in this Australian T20 side. His record is unbelievable, and as captain has the most important individual job. Unfortunately, he left the West Indies tour with a knee injury that required surgery. However Bailey is confident that Finch will come back and be prepared for the tournament.
“All reports are that he’s tracking really well, and there’s time pressure there to be up and running and getting some practice matches under the belt.”
Australia is looking towards one of the biggest summers in recent years. Australia will play six tests, including an Ashes series that could be a make or break for coach Justin Langer. A key criticism of the T20 world cup is the lack of preparation many players will have before the Test matches.
“From a player preparation perspective, and I’ve spoken to our regular bowling group about this, it’s not the first time that they are planning to go into a test series without any red-ball matches under their belts. It’s something they are aware of. It certainly won’t be an excuse for lack of performance.”
Australia T20 World Cup squad
Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins (vs.), Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Travelling reserves: Dan Christian, Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams
Australia’s 2021 T20 World Cup schedule
Oct 23 v South Africa in Abu Dhabi (9 pm AEDT)
Oct 29 v Qualifier A1 in Dubai (1 am Oct 29 AEDT)
Oct 30 v England in Dubai (1 am Oct 31 AEDT)
Nov 4 v Qualifier B2 in Dubai (9pm AEDT)
Nov 6 v West Indies in Abu Dhabi (9 pm AEDT)