ICC World Twenty20 2012 August 14, 2012

Bailey confident T20 bases are covered


George Bailey, Australia's Twenty20 captain, has said he expects the 15 men picked for the Twenty20 series against Pakistan in the UAE to be the same 15 who will carry Australia's hopes in the ICC World Twenty20 next month. Australia must name their final squad for the World T20 by Saturday and although a provisional 30-man group included surprise choices such as Dirk Nannes and Ben Laughlin, there are unlikely to be any wild-cards in the final squad.

That should mean a three-man spin attack including Brad Hogg, Xavier Doherty, and the uncapped Glenn Maxwell, while other exciting T20 performers such as Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh and Aaron Finch are likely to miss out. The 15 men who will take on Pakistan have been in Darwin over the past week for a training camp and Bailey said he was pleased with the mix the selectors had brought together ahead of the World T20 in Sri Lanka.

"Yeah I'd hope [it will be the same squad], all things being equal. Hopefully that group of guys performs and stays fit and I think that's the 15 that will be best suited for us to go as far as we can in that tournament," Bailey told ESPNcricinfo. "We've got all bases covered. If we want to go in with a spin-laden team we can, or with all-rounders, or we've got some genuine pace.

"I think we've got absolutely everything covered for whatever conditions are thrown up in Sri Lanka. Also a lot of the games are played on the same venues, so we're expecting towards the back end of the tournament perhaps some tired wickets."

That could mean plenty of work for the spinners and accurate seamers such as Clint McKay, although first Australia must get through their group matches against West Indies and Ireland. By the end of the group stage, Bailey will not even have played ten Twenty20 internationals, having been thrust into the captaincy from outside the squad in January.

Since then, he has led his country to two wins and two losses from four games: two matches at home against India in February, and two in the West Indies in March. Until they convened in Darwin, his men have not been together for more than four months, with some having played in Australia's one-day tour of England, others having enjoyed stints in county cricket, and others having spent the winter at home.

The three T20s against Pakistan in the UAE early next month will therefore be priceless preparation for Bailey's side, especially given that last time they played, in the West Indies, the T20 squad was augmented by ODI players due to the distance from Australia and the infeasibility of flying T20 specialists around the world for two games.

"The back end of that Dubai tour will be really good," Bailey said. "It will be the first time we've been able to get that squad together for an extended period. Even just the time in Sri Lanka for the warm-up games I think will be really important just to actually start to get a feel for our specific roles and just having the group together continuously. I think that's been our biggest challenge as a cricket team, Twenty20 wise, has been just finding out about being a team rather than just a group of guys thrown together."

Gelling as a unit will be critical if Australia are to go one better than in the 2010 World T20, when they reached the final but lost to England. Despite that effort Australia are ninth in the ICC's T20 rankings, with only Ireland and Zimbabwe below them, but Bailey reads little into the rankings and believes the World T20 will be wide open for almost any side to win.

"I reckon there's about nine teams that at this stage could put their hands up and say they can win the tournament," Bailey said. "We firmly believe we're one of those. Playing in the subcontinent means all the subcontinent teams will be pretty dangerous. England and South Africa have got great depth and consistency in their teams and the way they play at the moment they'll be dangerous.

"First and foremost our biggest worry is West Indies, who are in our group. They have a team that is absolutely made for T20, great balance of pace, good spin bowlers and some of the best hitters in the world. It's going to be really tough and it's going to be very much about gelling our team and getting our heads around the fact that if we can put our best cricket together for two weeks, something very special could be at the other end."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • Roo on August 17, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    @thebrotherswaugh :- "I'd be bitterly disappointed if we lost the test series (2-1 AUS or 1-1 seems most likely)"... What Test series v Pak?... lol... "As for the ODI & T20 formats, PAK should dominate" - Why?... Eng 4-0 in ODI & 2-1 in T20's there a few mths ago - if anything it should be a close series, with Pak having better spinners while Oz have more attacking batters... Should be a good contest for both teams... Why not post under your normal moniker?... lol...

  • John on August 17, 2012, 2:30 GMT

    @SwingKingPin. If we're talking the test format, 3-0 vs. ENG is one thing, don't expect a similar result against AUS. For one thing, we have a far superior bowling attack to the current popguns that dominate Pommy cricket (how long before they start trying to poach our home-grown talent, which we have in abundance at the moment). Batting wise we may struggle, but I expect the Big 3 to perform strongly in the UAE (Clarke/Ponting/Hussey). No doubt that PAK is a high-quality side, it should be a good contest, but I'd be bitterly disappointed if we lost the test series (2-1 AUS or 1-1 seems most likely). As for the ODI & T20 formats, PAK should dominate - we've been tinkering with those teams for far too long now, under the guise of giving young talent exposure at the international level, and for intents & purposes, it hasn't worked. Pick the best available team for each distinct format, and return to basics. It should be a good series.

  • Roo on August 16, 2012, 6:28 GMT

    @Marcio... Agree with comms - CA seems to use T20 & ODI matches to give Test prospects international experience, which is counter-productive of any team building, unity, let alone giving those that are in good form in the shorter formats a run... Shaun Marsh had 1 good one day game & got the no.3 spot for Tests - that worked out well :P ... Though I do think this squad is probably very close to being our current best for the pitches we'll get in the UAE & SL...

  • Roo on August 16, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    @whitesXI... Not a bad team for Oz conditions, but 1 spinner for slow, turning pitches would cost us dearly... Take out M Marsh or NC-N (actually McDermott goes as he is now on tour) & replace with O'Keefe; Faulkner goes for Hauritz or Krejza...

  • Marcio on August 15, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Hard to say how they will go. The problem is Australia has never had any T20 team - every 'series' they play (usually onely two games) they put together a makeshift side, with no seeming plan for any team development. That reflects the fact that they prioritise ODIs and (increasingly)Tests. The great thing is that Australia have some real match-winners in players like Watson, Warner and the Husseys, while Hogg gives the bowling balance (ssuming he plays). But above all, they have heaps of players who have been very successful in the IPL and Champions League, so conditions shouldn't be a major issue. Warner in particular has scored numerous T20 centuries in the sub-continent - sorry to inform the poster who said he can't handle spinners. AUS have as much chance as anyone of succeeding - or failing.

  • Randolph on August 15, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    @whitesXI why not just play Victoria? We all know how good they are. And where is White? Isn't he the best since Bradman?

  • ANIMESH on August 15, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    Ind team for t20 wc-Sehwag,gambhir,kohli,yuvraj,raina,dhoni,rohit,irfan,harbhajan,ashwin,zaheer.lookat the battng line up.this team can distroy any attack. and Aus xi-warner,watson,m.hussy,white,d.hussey,haddin,s.smith,hogg,pattinsan,cummins, bollinger.

  • Alex on August 15, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    As with any t20 game any team can win if one or two things g their way, which does bring the minnow nations into play. I think an Aus A team with no-one in the current 15-man squad would challenge the current Aus team 1.Finch 2.Hodge 3.S Marsh 4.Ferguson 5.Quiney 6.M Marsh 7.Hartley 8.Faulkner 9.Coulter-Nile 10.McDermott 11.Holland. It doesn't have as much class as the current squad but has decent enough strike power to worry most t20 squads

  • chamitha on August 15, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    oh! I forget to include wade in the xi in my previous comment.My xi:Warner,Finch,Watson,White,M.Hussey,D.Hussey(c),Wade,M.Marsh,Mckay,Hogg,Cummins..David Hussey proved his leadership skills in this years IPL.So I don't think he can't guide this team to the glory.

  • Andrew on August 15, 2012, 0:05 GMT

    @katandthat3 - re: Marsh/Quinney & Finch. Marsh's IPL experience SHOULD count in his favour, although I've lost what shaky confidence I had in him. I think Finch deserves more of a go, & Quinney I'm not sure on. I find it really interesting that so many people want Quinney to get into the National side, yet his overall stats across 3 formats are not all that good, (his List A stats are good with a great S/R). Finch is the current player I think who is not getting the selections his merit deserves (in T20s). I wouldn't have him anywhere near the Test or ODI side, but his T20 stats are arguably the best in Oz, with an International ave of 104! Which says to me, he's done nothing wrong in his limited opportuniies!

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