ICC World T20 2012 September 12, 2012

Heavy reliance on Warner, Watson


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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • michael 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.

  • Dummy4 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

  • Geoffrey 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..

  • Ronald 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.

  • Andrew 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!

  • Bryn 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.

  • Bryn 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

  • Marty 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.

  • Vikram 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.

  • zia 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.

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