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September 15, 2012
Clint McKay became one of the fastest to 50 ODI wickets earlier this year but he knows his place in the shorter format is far from certain for Australia's World T20 campaign. McKay missed the T20s against Pakistan in the UAE due to a hamstring injury and made his return on Saturday in Australia's warm-up match against New Zealand in Colombo, where he took 2 for 14 from three overs.
However, with Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc both in good form, and the spinners Brad Hogg, Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell likely to play a significant role in the Sri Lankan conditions, McKay may struggle to force his way in for the group matches against Ireland and West Indies. McKay has played only four T20 internationals - three of them this year - despite his ongoing presence in the ODI side.
"I'd like to think I'd get in the best attack but if I don't, well so be it," McKay told reporters after the New Zealand game. "I'll just keep training and making sure that if I do get my turn I'll be ready to go. The young boys Starcy and Patty are bowling beautifully at the moment so we'll just wait and see what makeup of the team they're going to go with."
McKay is far from an express bowler but has been extremely valuable to Australia's one-day team in the past three years, his changes of pace proving especially difficult for batsmen to handle. In March, he collected his 50th ODI wicket from his 27th match, the equal eighth-fastest in ODI history, placing him alongside champions like Waqar Younis and Shane Bond, and only marginally behind others such as Curtly Ambrose and Shane Warne.
Transferring that form to T20 cricket will be his next challenge, if he wins a place in Australia's side during this tournament. An extended run of matches in the ODI side earlier this year helped him gain confidence and until his hamstring problem, he had started to put together a few consecutive T20 internationals.
"Getting a continuing stretch of games [helped], I think I played 12 or 13 in a row, which is something I've never done before," McKay said. "And the more you play the more comfortable you feel. But in saying that I know that there's a lot of work for me to do to make sure I continue to improve and continue to hold my spot. It's been great to be around the squad for so long and help win games of cricket but I know there's a long way to go."
For now, the focus is on helping Australia prove they are better than their ninth place in the ICC's T20 rankings. They began to find their touch in the second and third T20s against Pakistan and their 56-run win against New Zealand, which featured three wickets for Brad Hogg and two each for Cummins, McKay and Shane Watson, was an encouraging start to the Sri Lankan trip.
"The confidence more than anything that came out of today was that it doesn't matter which makeup we go with, we've got guys to fill in the role," McKay said. "We've got pace at the front and good spinning options and some medium-pacers with Watson and Dan Christian as well. I think in all different conditions and circumstances ... we've got all bases covered and are raring to go."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
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