Australia released their 15-man squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Oman and UAE and the fans couldn't be more content.
The fact that Australia have been shambolic in T20I recently is not hidden to the world, and despite some very influential players missing out, they would be disappointed by the fact that the team couldn't do anything in their absence. Australia became only the second team after their neighbors New Zealand to announce their 15-member squad ahead of the global T20I tournament which is set to begin on the 17th of October.
Let's have a look at their squad.
Aaron Finch (C), Pat Cummins (VC), Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Swepson.
Dan Christian, Daniel Sams, and the debutant hattrick hero Nathan Ellis have been picked as reserve players and they will be traveling with the main squad.
Aaron Finch is still recovering from his knee injury and is a few weeks away from a full recovery, while Steve Smith also managed to get fit in time from an elbow injury. The likes of Pat Cummins, David Warner, Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, and Kane Richardson are also a huge boost as Australia haven't won the T20 World Cup even once.
Players to Miss Out
Alex Carey, Josh Philippe, Moises Henriques, Andrew Tye, and Ashton Turner were dropped. The horrific defeat to Bangladesh played an enormous part in this decision as these sets of players failed to make an impact in the subcontinent conditions.
The conditions will be very similar in UAE and Oman and thus, the selectors were pretty convinced with what they decided.
Players and Team Form
It all started with Sri Lanka's tour to Australia and most of the players from the announced squad played a part in it. With bumps on the road during the 2019 Cricket World Cup, Australia then hosted Sri Lanka and beat them in their backyard 3-0 in T20Is.
Aaron Finch had a duck in the second T20I but apart from him, the others did a fine job. David Warner had a fabulous performance. Then it was Pakistan who visited Australia and lost the 2nd and 3rd T20I after the first one was washed out.
The key three players in the batting division to watch out for Australia in the upcoming T20I World cup will be the trio of Aaron Finch, David Warner, and Steven Smith. Let us have a look at their T20I stats since 2020.
Steve Smith had a great series, scoring 80 in the second T20I, while Aaron Finch and David Warner left Pakistan with nothing in the 3rd and final T20I, scoring 48 and 52 respectively.
In February 2020, they toured South Africa in a three-match T20I series, winning 2-1. Finch and Smith contributed majorly to their win in the first T20I, while Warner's 67 went in vain as Australia lost the second T20I.
In the decider, all three of them, Warner, Smith, and Finch performed, scoring 57, 30*, and 55 respectively. Maxwell opted out in every series after performing brilliantly against Sri Lanka due to personal reasons.
The beginning of a collapse
# When Australia toured England, Maxwell was back and the first T20I was a marginal defeat to the hosts. Warner scored 58, Finch scored 46, while Steve Smith and Maxwell had a quiet game. Warner and Smith failed in the second T20I as well, with Warner departing on a duck whereas Smith was unlucky to get run out at 10. Maxwell contributed to the total, scoring 26. Australia then won the third T20I in not the easiest of ways, courtesy of 39s from Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh.
# Then Australia hosted India, another three-match T20I series but yet again, Australia lost the series. However, it wasn't enough for a robust India batting who chased it down in the last over. In the T20I, Wade performed again, scoring 80 but not as the skipper because Finch was back in the side. However, it didn't matter much as he went out for a duck. Maxwell also turned up to the occasion and scored a brilliant 54 off 36 balls. King Kohli played a monstrous knock of 85 but the hosts still managed to win as the others failed to score.
# Australia then toured New Zealand and lost another series, their third in a row, 3-2, with Aaron Finch being Australia's highest scorer in the series with 197 runs in 5 T20Is. Glenn Maxwell scored 93 in 5 T20Is.
**Note: Steve Smith wasn't a part of this series.
# The effects of the downfall were felt in the series against West Indies in West Indies. Ironically, the West Indies squad was an easier one compared to India and England's squads but Australia suffered their heaviest T20 series defeat, 4-1.
However, the worst was yet to come. Australia toured Bangladesh for a five-match T20I series and as the headlines said, they lost the series in a humiliating manner, losing 4-1 and allowing the Asian country to register their first-ever bilateral series victory against them.
Not only did they lose their first-ever T20I game against Bangladesh, but they were also completely outplayed by Mahmudullah and Co. An argument about how their team wasn't the strongest can be put, but Australia had more than enough to fight.
Totals close to 130-140 were not being chased by a team like Australia and that's unacceptable for a team that has the most World Cups under their belt. Australia have won only six out of their last 21 T20Is since August 2020, something that is really a concern for one of Cricket's superpower.
However, for the World Cup, the core members are back. And since most of them will be a part of the IPL in the UAE, we can expect Australia to get back to its when the tournament approaches.