The World Twenty20 is now under way in India and it is shaping up to be a fierce battle between some of the world’s greatest cricketing nations to see who will claim the prize. Australia have never managed to make their mark on the T20 format so could this be their year?
At the time of writing, Australia are 9/2 with 32red Australia and Unibet to win. But they face strong competition from other tournament heavyweights, South Africa and India, who have odds of 4/1 and 3/1, respectively, with 32red, BoyleSport and others. Australia have been criticised over the years for not taking this format as seriously as the other more traditional forms of cricket. They have also been drawn into the “group of death” and will have to battle against India, New Zealand, and Pakistan for the top places.
There has been some debate over whether the crop of players selected are the best possible players available, with some big names left out and some more inexperienced players included. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the key players in this squad and what they can bring to the table.
Smith is a young and highly ambitious captain and has been successful in the short period he has led the team. Putting Smith in charge of the team in all three formats of the game was a positive move. He has a great cricketing mind and the passion to succeed. He has already stated in interviews that the T20 title has thus far eluded Australia and they are there to try and win it. Smith will be the driving force behind this new era of Australian cricket and could lead them on to great things.
Another bold move by selectors was to replace Matthew Wade with specialist wicketkeeper Peter Nevill. Nevill is regarded as the best keeper in Australia at the moment but has never played T20 at international level until now. The specialist keeper is also less handy with the bat and selecting him shows that there is a lot of faith in the strength of Australia’s batting order. In such a fast-paced form of the game, though, a good keeper is vital as there are usually more opportunities for run-outs and stumpings.
Warner is probably Australia’s most lethal hitter and that is why he is 16/1 to be the tournament’s best batsman. Australia’s vice-captain is one of the world’s most devastating players at this level and considered somewhat of a T20 specialist. He has enjoyed reasonable form in 2016 and has the ability to step up to the big occasion and display his talents to the world. His enormous score of 253 in the Tests against New Zealand in 2015 is testament to his ferocious ability.
Some English fans will remember when Agar made his test debut at the age of 19 and marked the occasion with an incredible batting innings of 98 runs. He came in at 11 that day which makes it all the more remarkable. He is named in the T20 squad as a bowler. The youngster has a lot of potential but could be quite a risky selection as he has only played one T20 international prior to this tournament. It is expected that the conditions in India will favour spin, so Agar could come out as being one of the surprise stars of the competition.
Another of the young squad members, Faulkner is the best player in Tasmania and has been for quite some time. He has proven to be a very effective bowler on the One Day and T20 stage and one of the features of his game is his ability to move the ball with swing. His history at this level and current form are why he is at odds of 28/1 to be the best bowler in the tournament. Not only that, he can chip in with the bat as well.
With these big players and many others making up the Australian squad, they certainly have the manpower to see this tournament through to the very end. This could finally be the time that Australia dominate the T20 format.