Tough turnaround for West Indies as Australia look to fine-tune T20 World Cup selection

big picture

Australia is back on home soil and the West Indies have largely arrived (Shimron Hetmyer missed his flight), as the teams enter the final stretch of their men’s T20 World Cup preparations. The West Indies need to go through qualifiers to reach the Super 12s, so these two matches are an important opportunity to get into gear.

However, it was a very quick turnaround for the squad, especially those involved in the CPL final, who barely had 24 hours in Australia. However you connect Guyana to Gold Coast in Google Flights – the latter group came via New York and Dubai – it’s not an easy journey.

It is their first time in over six years in Australia and, remarkably, they have only won one international in any form against Australia in Australia. since 1997. At least that was in a T20I, in 2013.

Hetmyer’s travel problems and subsequent sacking from the squad contributed to what was already a selection that had sparked much debate amid the absence of Andre Russell and the continued non-selection of Sunil Narine. However, in their favour, they are coming off an ongoing stint of T20 cricket in the CPL and several in the squad enjoyed an impressive tournament.

Australia, meanwhile, are trying to fine-tune their plans after India’s 2-1 series loss, which included some high-quality batting, but in conditions unlikely to have a major impact on this World Cup. There are some nagging injuries around the squad, which threaten to become a slightly bigger problem than initially appeared. But now that bubbles are a thing of the past, Australia knows they have the advantage of being hosts and can easily summon players if needed.

There are two names on everyone’s mind right now: Cameron Green and Tim David. Green is not part of the World Cup 15, but showed what he is capable of in India, while David looks ideal for the midfielder, but a tough selection round could wait.

Recent form

(last five games, most recent first)

Australia LLWLW
West Indies WLLLL

In the spotlight

Mitchell Marsh was Player of the Match when Australia won the T20 World Cup title last year, but he has only played two T20Is since then due to a combination of rest and injury. He comes in this short run after another of the last, an ankle problem he suffered against Zimbabwe but is still at number 3. He fully deserved that after what he accomplished last year but he will want to keep that kind of form like that quickly as possible and, with Green’s looming presence, go bowling again.

Brandon King is one of the West Indians to arrive in Australia with excellent form under his belt, having finished at the top of the points scoring list in the CPL, where his 83 from 50 balls in the final led Jamaica Tallawahs to the title. He has become a consistent player at the top of the rankings this year with half a century against England, Bangladesh, India and New Zealand.

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Team news

With Marcus Stoinis not part of the squad and Marsh playing only as a batter, Australia will likely have to find room for a fifth bowler, which deviates from their balance from the last World Cup. It could represent an opportunity for middle-class Green, or Daniel Sams, who has more experience in that role. The domino of that would mean that a frontline batter, perhaps Steven Smith, is out.

Australia (possibly) 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Tim David, 6 Matthew Wade (wk), 7 Daniel Sams/Cameron Green, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

Seven of the West Indies squad were part of the CPL final and Pooran said they would call the XI on match day based on how the players had left the trip. But some will have to play. Shamarh Brooks, who has replaced Hetmyer, will not be attending the Australian games.

West Indies (possibly) 1 Brandon King, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Johnson Charles, 4 Nicholas Pooran (capt & wk), 5 Rovman Powell, 6 Jason Holder, 7 Odean Smith, 8 Akeal Hosein, 9 Yannic Cariah, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Sheldon Cottrell

Location and conditions

“You don’t really know what you’re getting until the game starts,” said Aaron Finch of what the drop-in pitch at Metricon could bring. “Looks like it cured overnight. Yesterday it was a little soft.” The forecast is for outside chance of a shower.

Statistics and trivia

  • Australia’s men have played one previous T20I at Metricon, a rain-stricken match against South Africa in 2018
  • Quotes

    “It’s been quite hectic weeks with the ODI series coming straight to India. But it’s been a lot of fun. I think we’re starting to learn a lot more about the squad and keep developing depth, all with one eye on the world.” Cup.”
    Aaron Finch

    “We understand that we don’t have that much experience in the hall. But we’ve been playing cricket together all year, so we understand each other a little better now.”
    Nicholas Pooran

    Andrew McGlashan is deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo


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