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Australia at the Caribbean carnival - Preview

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For years, Australia dominated test cricket (and they will again, by God. Mwahaha!) and are the current world champions in the one-day game, but they have never really taken to the newest and shortest cricket format. It is due to nothing short of complacency in selection as far as I’m concerned. Take the 2009 tournament in England, for example – there wasn’t really a T20 side on the tour. The guys who were there for that other test series and the ODIs that followed suited up, showed up – and promptly exited. It was a morale killing moment they did not need right before the Ashes (plus, it meant an extra week or so in Leicester and that’s never good for anyone).

 

Things have recently changed. For one thing, they have a new skipper; and the prospect of an unbeaten home summer seems to have made the Australian selectors actually put some thought into our T20 side for once. I like to imagine Michael Clarke taking a mouldy bread stick to Andrew Hilditch’s head until he was given the lads he asked for. That probably didn’t happen, but isn’t it a nice visual?

So, the Aussies will be fronting up in the Caribbean with some well-known faces and a few faces that fans will be happy to see a bit more of.

The team is strong on batting with Dave Warner, Cameron White, Mike Hussey and Michael Clarke as well as all-rounders Dave Hussey, Steve Smith, newbie Dan Christian and Australia’s current favourite son, Shane Watson. The bowling is a whole lotta pace (Mitchell Johnson, Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait and – should injuries finally allow – Brett Lee) with just a little bit of spin (Nathan Hauritz and Steve Smith). There are two wicket Keepers in Brad Haddin and Tim Paine, neither of whom are too shabby with a bat either.

It looks to me like a pretty good side, but I'm not sure T20 world domination is on Australia’s doorstep just yet. Despite having some world class players, they are relative rookies when it comes to playing T20 to win. Also, the competition will be fierce. In the group stage, for example, Australia will face Pakistan who they only just managed to beat in Melbourne in February, and who will be looking to regain some pride after their recent series whitewash down under.

The group stage, however, shouldn't really be the problem, because I can't see Bangladesh getting in Australia's way. It's the super-eight stage that will be tough. Of the eight teams, only four can go through. The minnows will, presumably, be gone and we will be left with strong T20 sides like New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. Neither England, South Africa or India will roll over easily either, and speak to pretty much any Pakistan supporter and he'll tell you his side has already got it won.

I do think Australia are very capable of making at least the semi-finals and perhaps, they'll go even further. I'm not convinced, though. I still don't think they are a complete T20 side. The batting has undoubted power, but the bowling can still be an issue. Both Johnson and Hauritz can be amazing one match and expensive the next, while Smith is very young and inexperienced. Watson is a top batsman, as he's shown recently, but he isn't so trustworthy with the ball. Lee seems to have a new injury every week and didn't exactly excel in the recent IPL when he was fit; his days of playing international cricket are surely coming to an end.

This leaves Tait and Nannes, whose abilities are without question, but will they be enough? Australia will probably make it through to the latter stages of the tournament, but then a mighty foe will be met and their bowling is quite likely to let them down.



As the youngest of five children, and with three older brothers, Kirby grew up in a house full of people who love Australian cricket, Geelong football club and rich tea biscuits. She was doomed from birth to wear the green and gold. As an adult she moved to the UK in an attempt to save England cricket fans from themselves, but in return they stole the Ashes. Twice. She firmly believes that Steve Waugh should be knighted, Graeme Swann should be castrated and Nathan Hauritz should be her pet. She blogs over at thoughtsfromthedustbin.blogspot.com



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