ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022: Australia’s Squad Analysis: Well-balanced and well-poised for title defence. Tim David is called up in squad for T20 World Cup 2022.
With just around a month to go, defending champions Australia have announced their 15-member squad for ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 which is all set to be held down under. The Kangaroos will defend their title that they collected in the last edition of the tournament in 2021 in Dubai, beating New Zealand in the night of the final.
In their last three-match T20I series in Sri Lanka, the sixth-ranked side in ICC Men’s T20I team rankings comfortably beat the home side by a margin of 2-1.
Tim David replaces Mitchell Swepson from the last T20 World Cup squad
There hasn’t been any significant change from Australia’s last T20 World Cup squad as the Singapore-born middle order batter, Tim David who has made a name for himself playing different T20 leagues around the world has been added to the squad replacing leg spinner Mitchell Swepson.
“He is a highly gifted natural ball-striker who will add extra batting depth to the group which has had a lot of success in T20 cricket,” Australia’s national selector George Bailey expressed. “We expect him to play a similar role to that he has been playing in the past few years.”
Australia’s T20 World Cup Squad
Aaron Finch (Captain), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Tim David, Josh Inglis (wk), Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Kane Richardson.
The side looks well-settled and balanced in all the three departments of the game. With so many positives, Australia can certainly look to win back-to-back trophies on their home soil. Let’s assess the whole squad in three parts.
A stable top-order with captain Aaron Finch’s poor form
For any T20I side to do well in the modern era, they should have an expressive top-order which can take full advantage of the powerplay to offer their side a quick start. Especially on those bouncy pitches of Australia where most of the games become high-scoring affairs, it is such a vital prospect of the game.
David Warner who has scored 2,684 T20I runs at a career strike rate of over 140 will require to take more responsibility especially with the poor form of captain Aaron Finch who in T20Is this year has secured just 247 runs in nine innings at a strike rate of 121.67. In ICC World T20 2021, Finch scored just 135 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of 116.37.
“Unfortunately, Finch is batting nowhere near his best; he needs to work on his mindset and technique,” former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson opined on the ‘Grade Cricketer’ podcast. “If he continues to bat the way he is, it would be a big liability, especially as an opener.”
Mitchell Marsh who is expected to come at number three for Australia can offer a few overs of his medium pace in the middle overs if required. Also, Josh Inglis has retained his spot in the squad which gives Australia a number of batting options along with a backup for first choice wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.
The inclusion of Steven Smith who has a career strike rate of 125.75 even after 57 T20Is has raised a few eyebrows. Smith will be under pressure to play in an attacking style as their coach Andrew McDonald suggested earlier this year.
“I feel like when I’m playing good T20 cricket, I’m in that team for sure.; I felt like I could go out and play with a lot more freedom and not have any hesitation in the back of my mind that I need to be a bit more reserved,” said Smith during their ODI series against Zimbabwe in Townsville.
A steady middle-order with power and all-round balance
The fine balance of any T20I side in the middle order is another vital aspect in the 20-over format. In this modern era, teams always look to go into the game with a sixth or seventh bowling option which might be a key factor if someone has an off day with ball in hand.
During their T20 World Cup campaign, both Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis will provide them that cushion. The former has been in an excellent touch with bat coming late in the innings and picking up a few wickets in the middle overs. Matthew Wade whose mouthwatering knock of 41 in 17 balls in the semis last year promoted Australia to the finals, is expected to wear the gloves from the beginning of the competition.
Tim David will join Maxwell in the finishing role
The addition of finisher Tim David was almost a certainty given how well he has performed in different leagues all around the world. In last season’s Pakistan Super League (PSL), David smashed 278 runs at 39.71 with an eye-catching strike rate of 194.40. For Mumbai Indians too in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, David scored 186 runs at a colourful strike rate of 216.28.
However, the shift from franchise cricket to international cricket especially playing in the World Cup early in his career won’t be an easy job and will require a lot of temperament and character. It will be interesting to see whom Australia leave out if they give Tim David a chance in the eleven.
Pace, bounce, spin and accuracy power Australia’s bowling line-up
Having variations in the bowling department is always a key factor in T20Is, and Australia seem to have all these bases covered. From the likes of left-arm fast bowling of Mitchell Starc and the bounce of Pat Cummins to the marvellous accuracy of Josh Hazlewood, all will favour Australia. To add more, they will have the spin of both left-arm spinner Ashton Agar and leg spinner Adam Zampa; the former can also be utilized as an all-rounder.
Australia’s T20 World Cup squad is quite balanced on various grounds which possesses different skills. In Perth, a fast and bouncy Mitchell Starc will be vital, while in Adalaide and Sydney where spin and accuracy become essential, Hazlewood and Zampa will have a big task on their shoulders.
Adam Zampa was also the highest wicket-taker for Australia in the last T20 World Cup with 13 wickets at an economy of just 5.81 and he will have to be at his best again to put pressure on the opposition in the middle overs. They also have Kane Richardson as a back-up option who has been in good touch playing in different leagues around the world.
So, all in all, Australia have a strong side which has all the abilities and reasons to qualify for the semi-final and even for the final. From dynamic batters and a solid middle-order along with a couple of specialist finishers to pace, bounce and spin bowling, everything gives Australia a decent chance to retain their T20 World Cup title defence.
Australia will tour India for a three-match T20I series between September 20-25 before meeting England for a three-match T20I series and West Indies at home for a two-match T20I series as their pre-tournament warm-up games. They will begin their ICC World T20 2022 assignment against New Zealand on October 22 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in Sydney.