ICC World T20 2012

Heavy reliance on Warner, Watson

Daniel Brettig

September 12, 2012

Comments: 33 | Text size: A | A

Shane Watson glides one to third man, Pakistan v Australia, 3rd T20I, Dubai, September 10, 2012
Australia's chances at the World T20 rest heavily on the starts made by Shane Watson and David Warner © Associated Press
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Consistently rapid starts from David Warner and Shane Watson are critical to Australia's chances of contending for the World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka, the coach Mickey Arthur has said.

Alongside Michael Hussey in the middle order, Warner and Watson represent the most potent batting force in the Australian line-up. The rest of the team does not possess quite the same combination of power and touch, a fact the selectors have tried to compensate for by choosing a long batting line-up, stretching as far as No. 8.

Warner started the UAE tour in a muddle against quality spin, but grew in conviction and confidence over time. Watson has eased his way back after injury, but was striking the ball with all his former heft by the conclusion of the T20 series.

As Australia prepared to depart Dubai for Colombo, Arthur acknowledged that the 111-run stand put together by Warner and Watson in that final game needed to be the rule rather than the exception over the next month. He also said that early wickets to the young pacemen Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins would set a similar tone for Australia in the field.

"If you lose early wickets in this kind of format and you play a tentative brand you get yourself into trouble and that's where we were in game one," Arthur said. "It just shows the beginning of each of your innings are crucial.

"If your openers get you off to a really good start, you get momentum and it sets you up for a score. And then if your opening bowlers start the same way and you take early wickets, you can put the opposition under some real pressure."

Four ODIs and three T20 matches in the UAE did not dissuade Australia from the view that their greatest bowling strength lies in their pace attack. The left-arm spin of Xavier Doherty was employed just twice in seven games, and Brad Hogg may have confirmed his place as the sole specialist spinner with a tidy spell in the final T20. The allrounder Glenn Maxwell and the part-timer David Hussey can be expected to bowl their off spinners here and there.

"I've heard it so often said that pace doesn't play a role in the sub-continent," Arthur said. "Pace through the air plays a role anywhere. If the guys can deliver their variations, they're going to pick up a lot of wickets.

"The best way to stop the [scoring] rate in Twenty20 cricket is by taking wickets, so you need guys who do something a little bit different. So you want those x-factor players.

"We've got the x-factor of a little bit of pace. We don't possess a Saeed Ajmal, but we've got other guys who certainly compensate for that. Brad Hogg bowling through the middle overs has the ability like Saeed Ajmal has to take wickets."

Australia have warm-up fixtures against New Zealand and England on September 15 and 17 before taking on Ireland in their opening group match on September 19.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by mikey76 on (September 14, 2012, 14:40 GMT)

Two best players in the world? Must be great living on planet jonesy! And you must be bursting at the seams with talent recalling a 41 yr old to bowl some pick and mix wrist spin.

Posted by   on (September 14, 2012, 0:43 GMT)

quite amusing that the worst player in Australia's squad is their captain. they should definately go with the 8 batsmen idea, hopefully with Bailey coming in at 8. apart from mckay the pace bowling department is terrible, but luckily they can rely on batsmen who occasionally roll their arm over to carry them through

Posted by Hammond on (September 13, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

@jonesy2- mate you are unbelievably optimistic. From where I am standing everyone will beat Australia so it's still a lottery. Get all your excuses ready..

Posted by Big-Dog on (September 13, 2012, 7:44 GMT)

Cam White has done nothing for Australia for at least two seasons. Its a mystery why he continues to be selected.

Posted by Meety on (September 13, 2012, 5:09 GMT)

@xylo on (September 12 2012, 17:53 PM GMT) - actually it was successful in an undefeated W/Cup campaign in the WIndies (Indian-like pitches), & for a period of time during the Oz v India quarter final, it looked like pace would triumph again. It is a formulae that can work anywhere, take a look at Oz's win loss record over the history of ODIs!

Posted by jonesy2 on (September 13, 2012, 4:25 GMT)

yeah the irony is that cam white completely outshone sangakkara at the IPL and phil hughes made a mockey of the pommy league. one of them has been not talked about and the other cant even make the team! who ever can beat australia will win the title.

Posted by jonesy2 on (September 13, 2012, 4:22 GMT)

when you have the two best players in the world you should rely on them. until the marsh bros are in the team australia dont have their strongest side. still favourites to win though

Posted by MenFromMarts on (September 12, 2012, 22:16 GMT)

@the_informant - Yes you are spot on beefy big hitters like Birt, Finch and Quiney tend to bully the opposition with skill and presence. Even Pomersbach if he ever got his head right.Andrew Symonds too for that matter. The nimble greyhounds of T20 will be replaced by the muscular "stand and deliver" men over the next few years. Again changing the look of the game again. And Australia and South Africa are well equipped with such big fellas. Just how refreshing is Brad Hogg ?? The upcoming generation could learn well from his attitude and exuberance.

Posted by xylo on (September 12, 2012, 17:53 GMT)

"Pace through the air plays a role anywhere. " - This was Australia's undoing in the 2011 ODI WC, though it was out of a lack of choice. But you would expect a professional cricket board to have figured out a solution by now, or at least have someone who is at least better than the 2011 crop.

Posted by GreenTeam-Elite on (September 12, 2012, 17:39 GMT)

Yes it's true Australia is depending on Watson, Warner, Hussey Brothers, White, Starc & Cummins. I have feeling that Australia will play Semi Final of this t20 world cup. Good Luck Australia you are one of my favourite team.

Posted by RagTagTeam on (September 12, 2012, 15:37 GMT)

I'm surprised about the lack of respect for Cameron White. In the IPL he was on the leading run makers at an excellent SR, without a single team mate to back him up. Can't say Christian has looked convincing at all. Glad to Hogg got a run, he's going to take buckets at the world cup. Starc and Cummins will be unstoppable if they have a good first game, they need the confidence to perform though. If they get their eye in, they will demolish the top order of any country.

Posted by leave_it_to_the_umps on (September 12, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

Oz have chosen to bat down til 8 cos they dont need anymore dedicated bowlers

2 young exciting strike fastbowlers in cummins and starc and a specialist spinner in Hogg are complemented by backup seamers in Watson (ranked 15 in the T20 bowling rankings) and Christian (handy death bowler) and 3 spinners in D Hussey (ranked 25 in the world), Maxwell (too new to call on bowling but destructive with the bat so far!) & Clarke (knack for picking up wickets) and even M Hussey (medium pace), warner (spin) & white (spin) have a had some success before at international level. the only ones who cant be called on to bowl are bailey(captain) and wade (keeper).

So with these bowling options available in a team that bats to 8 why would you drop a batsmen who can bowl for a bowler who cant bat just so that you dont have a long batting line up?

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (September 12, 2012, 13:14 GMT)

I wish my team England had the pace stocks the Aussies seem to be developing. Such a threadbare cupboard that the county circuit produces, means the only decent bowler we've got is Finn. Lets hope he doesn't descend into the hyperbole which marked Swann and Anderson's downturn. As for batting...dont make me laugh, without the south african we have to rely on the irish. Imagine if other teams could poach players like that? We'd be stuck playing Kenya for the scraps at the table of world cricket!

Posted by indian_diesel_loco_class_WDP4 on (September 12, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

with the beast being woken up by pak heading into the wc all the other teams are in for some trouble . with them peaking at the right time ,its got to be tough job stopping the aussies from grabbing the only piece of silverware to have eluded their mighty trophy cab . now just to play to the immense potential and keep a consistently high level throughout .sorry mates, the cup is going nowhere but to aus this tine around ....GO AUSIE..AUSSIE ROCKS....

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (September 12, 2012, 10:51 GMT)

The south african coach obviously has his hands tied by the lack of talent in australia, so here come the excuses.

Posted by Wozza-CY on (September 12, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

@angryangry- happyhappy with your comment. It is the game really to get 2 of your top 3 off to a flyer. No co-incidence that Pakistan won the first game with that happening. It's a strange thing for a coach to come out and say these obvious things...but then Mickey does like saying strange things in the media. For mine there's too much of this 'we rely on him & him' surrounding Australia at the moment. Fact is every team have their players that do the bulk of the scoring or bulk of the wicket taking. It's like saying that SA rely on Kallis & Amla too much or Morkel & Steyn. Every team have their key players.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (September 12, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

So let me get this straight...the south african coach is basically saying most of the team is rubbish...It took him months but he has finally seen what everyone else can see

Posted by i_witnessed_2011 on (September 12, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

You can not predict anything in T20 but along with their openers if M.hussey starts firing Aus would be tought team to beat again. They are far better than their ranking suggests, but according to me, their main concern is M.hussey's form.

Posted by sifter132 on (September 12, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

Yep Warner and Watson are key, but I'm confused about playing 8 batsmen. Selectors are basically saying they have no faith in batters 3-6, and to be honest that lack of faith is showing on the field through the lack of confidence in those batsmen. I say drop one of the all-rounders and batters, tell the other batters they have the confidence of the selectors and I think they would do better. After all picking a guy at #8 because he can bat in an innings of 120 balls seems just stupid.

Posted by   on (September 12, 2012, 7:06 GMT)

it is always good to see Australia performing better in t20 , but honestly i never had a doubt on Australia's ability of performing good in any kind of high prolific tournament ... yeah there were lot of people those were talking about, that australia don't play t20 well and up to the mark... or they don't take t20 cricket serious .. even Australians were saying things like that... But when you'r representing your country in any format of the game (no matter if it is a micky mouse or bikini cricket) you have to take it serious and you have to perform at the level people want you to ... So best of luck Australia, it is always good to have you in the competitive side of the tournament and A team to watch out for or even a team to defeat for

Posted by joseyesu on (September 12, 2012, 6:02 GMT)

I will add Hussey also to that list

Posted by the_informant on (September 12, 2012, 6:01 GMT)

If Australia had proven T20 performers like Travis Birt, Aaron Finch and Rob Quiney the batting would be explosive.

Posted by Naren on (September 12, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

If Australia want to win.. they should not pick the inconsistent Cameron White. Push Mike Hussey down the order like 5 or 6. Bailey is better off to come at 3 if the openers have played out the first 6 overs. Or Send Wade, David Hussey instead. Even Maxwell can be promoted, but he should reign in a little bit. Going for too many shots is a bit too risky. Even Dan Christian can be sent earlier and asked to play a sensible innings.

Posted by SamRoy on (September 12, 2012, 5:21 GMT)

How only Warner and Watson? The Hussey brothers and the amazing Maxwell are not threats or what? Bailey has played extremely well considering his ability (which is very limited). If Australia had two good spinners I would have backed them to win the World T20 (but they don't have a single one, that's why they are playing 42-year old Hogg who was a very good spinner five years ago).

Posted by AngryAngy on (September 12, 2012, 5:17 GMT)

All teams rely on their openers in T20. It's not a crutch, but the way the game works. Hit or miss players can hide down the order, but if an opener is susceptible to bad starts, you're guaranteed to see it happen.

Posted by straight_drive4 on (September 12, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

@badsac - i totally agree. brad hogg is going to be a big weapon for us as the best of batters couldnt even pick his wrong-un during his fulltime playing days. i reckon these youngsters are no chance....

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (September 12, 2012, 4:14 GMT)

I think by now most teams have lined up the Aussies well. They know that if they get Warner out cheaply, the rest just fall apart like a house of cards. Watson has been seriously out of form, Bailey is plain useless, Cameron White's days as an international cricketer is almost over and the list goes on. The bowling is good as always which should bode well for them. However, I feel Australia can really choke teams with their superb fielding and athletics. If they play anything like they did against PAK in that crushing 94 run defeat, they could be a dangerous team. Still I feel Australia need to sort out their batting order for prolonged success.

Posted by Masud_BITK on (September 12, 2012, 3:42 GMT)

Australia always overlooked some great players like Hogg, M Hussey, G, Bailey and these players lost decades in their international career. D. Hussey is also another unfortunate NOT to be yet included in the Test. B Hogg is still key players for ODI and T20, you can see now.

Posted by satish619chandar on (September 12, 2012, 3:28 GMT)

Warner and Watson are the most important members as they can hit big hits at will at any point of the game. Plus, ever reliable Mike Hussey to marshal the middle order and Maxwell as X factor. Rest of the batting is just to make it up. They are expected to be average and if they do well, it is bonus for the team. Bowling holds the key with some exciting pace bowlers there. But bowling will depend on the kind of tracks they will get.

Posted by Marcio on (September 12, 2012, 2:43 GMT)

Australia have been very smart in their preparations. They should do well. But this is T20, so it's anybody's ball game. There can be no favourite in this format, as there are just too many unknowns.

Posted by Heisenburg on (September 12, 2012, 2:10 GMT)

If pace bowling is Australias greatest strength, we should be bowling Hilfenhaus, he had a decent 1st 20/20 then was unused, Australia should be playing 4 bowlers. Hopefully Doherty doesn't play again, Hogg all the way!

Posted by badsac on (September 12, 2012, 1:58 GMT)

I see Brad Hogg as one of Australia's key men come the world cup. Australia made a mistake not playing him in every game against Pakistan. He's so important to hold the opposition up in the middle overs, and offer a constant threat. Not just wait for batting mistakes like the other Australian spinners. Hopefully they haven't left him too late, and he'll hit the ground running come the tournament.

Posted by Dashgar on (September 12, 2012, 1:52 GMT)

Good to see Watson and Warner in form but they aren't our only weapons. All the way to number 8 we have potentially game changing batsmen. It's just a matter of finding some confidence and winning games. If Australia get on a roll they are as good a chance as any team to win this competition.

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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