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February 12, 2013
Three years ago, Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland suggested that Twenty20 was such a specialist game that the day might come when Australia could have completely separate Test and T20 teams playing on opposite sides of the globe at the same time. Effectively, that day has arrived, although this one-off occurrence is not quite what Sutherland had in mind. Australia's Test players have now flown to Chennai to prepare for the first Test against India, unquestionably the correct priority. But the packed schedule means they still need to put out a national team for this T20 against West Indies at the Gabba, without David Warner, Shane Watson, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc and Xavier Doherty, to name but a few.
Apart from the captain George Bailey, it is hard to say for certain how many members of the squad for this match would be part of Australia's first-choice T20 side. Shaun Marsh, perhaps. James Faulkner might soon get to that point, and so might Aaron Finch. And that's about it. That's not necessarily a bad thing, although the fans buying tickets for the Brisbane match might disagree. A year out from the next World Twenty20, it gives the selectors a chance to have a look at some men who could push their cases. There is the uncapped quartet of Ben Rohrer, Joe Burns, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Coulter-Nile, there is Faulkner, Ben Cutting, Ben Laughlin and Clint McKay, all jostling to become regular members of the T20 attack, while the batsmen Adam Voges and Aaron Finch hope to make the most of their last opportunity of the international summer.
For West Indies, this is a chance to finish on a high after a miserable five-match ODI series. They are the reigning world champions in the Twenty20 format and there is no question that the short matches suit their dynamic style. But after such a lacklustre display in the 50-over games, can they switch on for their last outing of the tour?
Form guide(Most recent first)
In the spotlight
Ben Rohrer is a classic example of the national selectors having rewarded Big Bash League performances. A solid if not spectacular batsman for New South Wales over the past few years, Rohrer, 31, delivered with the utmost consistency for the Melbourne Renegades this summer. He didn't fail to reach double figures and scored 34 not out, 27, 18, 30 not out, 52, 35, 57 and 42, which put him fifth on the competition run tally. His strike rate of 152.06 was also the highest of any of the BBL's top 20 run scorers this season. His challenge is to show the selectors that this should not be a one-off appearance dictated by circumstance.
On Sunday at the MCG, Johnson Charles scored his first century in any form of elite cricket during the fifth and final one-day international. It is true that he rode his luck and his technique has so many holes that Phillip Hughes' looks pure by comparison, but Australia's bowlers must consider Charles a danger at the top of the order. If Chris Gayle is ruled out through injury, Charles becomes all the more important.
The uncapped Queensland and Brisbane Heat batsman Joe Burns has joined the squad as cover for Adam Voges, who suffered a hamstring niggle during his century in the fifth ODI in Melbourne. Voges will be given until just before the match to prove his fitness, while the captain George Bailey, who also has a sore hamstring, is likely to play. Ben Rohrer will make his debut and the fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile also has a strong chance of playing his first international. Australia's main question is which of the fast men to leave out.
Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Shaun Marsh, 3 Adam Voges / Joe Burns, 4 George Bailey (capt), 5 Ben Rohrer, 6 Brad Haddin (wk), 7 James Faulkner, 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Ben Cutting, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Ben Laughlin / Josh Hazlewood.
West Indies are again waiting on the fitness of Chris Gayle, who has not played since hurting his side during the third ODI in Canberra. Their main question is around the make-up of their attack. Tino Best has not played a Twenty20 international but must be strongly considered after his fearsomely quick bowling over the past couple of ODIs.
West Indies (possible) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Johnson Charles, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Kieron Pollard, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Narsingh Deonarine, 7 Devon Thomas (wk), 8 Andre Russell, 9 Darren Sammy (capt), 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Kemar Roach / Tino Best.
Pitch and conditions
The Gabba always provides plenty of runs in the shorter formats. Unfortunately, the weather forecast indicates that there could be a shower or two in Brisbane in the late afternoon and evening.
Stats and trivia
"Every game as a group is important ... in terms of trying to maintain some structure and continuity"
George Bailey on Australia's preparation for the 2014 World Twenty20
"We are the Twenty20 champions and the last time we played Australia we completely outplayed them and that's the type of motivation we're going to take into the last game on this trip."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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The thrills are rather low-octane, the skills are a bit lightweight, and the tournament overly India-centric
Also, high scores and low averages, most ducks in international cricket, and the 12-year-old Test player
Former New Zealand seamer Gavin Larsen talks about wobbly seam-up bowling, the 1992 World Cup, and his role in the next tournament
Twenty years on, Shivnarine Chanderpaul continues to be understated, underestimated. And that doesn't bother him. What's not to like?
Plays of the day from the CLT20 game between Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings
Of the 85 Tests that Bangladesh have played so far, they've lost 70 and won just four. Those stats are easily the worst among all teams when they'd played as many Tests
The planned reorganisation of their domestic structure should help the region recapture some of the glory it enjoyed in the past
Both teams face contrasting opponents in their next Test series. While West Indies will be tested against stronger teams, Bangladesh have it easier but without much to gain