As Australia’s Test Cricket squad prepare for a tilt at the number one ranked side South Africa, the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup was announced and I have to say, I loved it.
It’s not often I wrap up the selectors, but this time they have hit the nail on the head. The Squad has it all, a great mix of experience and youth, players in T20 form off the back of the BBL and T20I’s and a plethora of all-rounders who can win a match with either bat or ball.
The top order batting will see Dave Warner and Shane Watson, who both prefer to open, try to unseat the incumbents in Aaron Finch and Cameron White. The Victorians did a great job in the recent series against England and deserve to hold their place. One of these four will have to slide down to number three and one will miss out.
Number four is skipper George Bailey. After his recent form in the England series and the BBL, this is in ink. Great captain and all round nice guy to boot.
Brad Hodge, at 39 (a great age to be!!!), is the last specialist batsman and he must slot in at five. His ability to set the pace in an innings and finish gives the side what used to be Mike Hussey’s job. He is the man for any situation as he proved a number of times in the BBL.
Oh, and he can open the bowling as well.
The all-rounders are well catered for. In addition to Watson, there is James Faulkner, Dan Christian and Glenn Maxwell. Maxwell has the most potential with the bat but doesn’t deliver enough and is serviceable with his offies, while Faulkner is a gun with both bat and ball, having won at least two ODI’s off his own bat for Australia in the past few months. He probably doesn’t bat in the top six.
Christian is not quite as good as either of them with the bat or the ball, but will be a handy option if required.
Brad Haddin is the only keeper in the squad and will bat at seven. His experience and competitiveness will greatly serve the team, despite his lack of recent T20 games.
The quick bowlers have the power to win this competition for us on their own. Its not just in the attack of Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Coulter-Nile where that stands out, its in the names such as Pattinson, Bird, Hazlewood and Hastings that missed out, plus Harris and Siddle who were not even considered. And the looming figure of Pat Cummins on the horizon.
This is a seriously good pace attack.
The spin “father and son” of Brad Hogg and James Muirhead provide the perfect mix. Both wrist spinners, who take the ball different ways as a result of one being right handed and the other left handed. This will be a learning trip for Muirhead as Hogg will be the first choice. Hogg, 43, is a great story, one which will hopefully end with leading Australia to its first T20 World Cup.
With all that in mind, I believe Australia’s first choice line up will be Warner, Finch, White, Bailey, Hodge, Maxwell, Haddin, Faulkner, Johnson, Coulter-Nile, Hogg.
Watson and Starc will be desperately unlucky to miss out on this side, while Christian and Muirhead provide more than capable back-up for injury and/or loss of form
Anything other than a trip to the final, with this squad, will be a failure.
Of course there are some other countries that will have something to say about that.