Upbeat after convincingly taking the ODI series, Australia’s T20 skipper Aaron Finch is confident that the hosts can handle the more experienced Indian reinforcements in Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina that arrived here for the three-match rubber starting tomorrow.
“India have brought in a lot of experienced players, which I think leading up to a world tournament in a couple of months is about trying everyone possible,” said Finch.
“We’ll have some individual plans for guys like Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina. It’s just important that our guys with the ball have got to execute plans as well as you can. If they’re just hitting the good balls, that’s not a problem.”
“When you’ve got a group of senior players, it’s brings quite a calmness to the group. There tends to be less panic in the dressing room. If you’ve a lot of youngsters, everyone’s on edge. Whereas the senior players know how the games go. If they’re still the best players regardless of their age, you just pick them,” he added.
Australia will have their own hands full as the T20I side takes new shape. Usman Khawaja has been neglected once again, much to everyone’s surprise, but the new names coming in have impressed in the recently concluded Big Bash League. So this will be a test for them as well, considering that spots are up for grabs for the World T20.
“Usman’s been in great form. He’s been performing at all levels and across all formats. The good thing is who don’t you bring into the side? I think it’s good pressure to have that in your squad. I think as soon as you’re trying to fill holes with bits and pieces players, that’s when you’re under pressure as a team.
“The luxury we have at the moment is that there are some outstanding players not playing and sitting on the sidelines. I think that shows how healthy the batting for Australia is at the moment,” he said.
“The new names are so exciting, they’re guys who can hit it a mile. They’re good fielders. Travis Head can bat quite well, so they’re really attractive packages. And it’s great to see them being rewarded for such good Big Bash performances. The way Chris Lynn held up Brisbane Heat (in the Big Bash) was outstanding,” he added.
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While the batting looks good on paper, Australia may juggle with their spin options as well as the younger pace bowlers. For the first time in this series though, they will have some pace experience as Shaun Tait returns after an absence of five years from the international arena.
“In T20, and in ODI cricket, if you don’t take wickets with the new ball, it puts so much pressure on the others because it is so hard to contain good batting line-ups on flat wickets through the middle overs. Where Australia have been good over the while is we’ve been able to take early wickets. And on the other side, we’ve been able to accelerate through the middle part and really set up a strong back half of the innings. It’s no different in this format as well.
“You have to get off to a flier, but it’s a bit of a risk-reward. If you’ve got damaging players who can bat through the middle overs, then it sets up and gives you a lot more freedom for the back half of the innings, and Tait is worth taking that risk,” the captain said.
When asked if the switch in captaincy helps both Steve Smith and himself, and whether as the T20I skipper he had a clear mind about a possible first-choice eleven for the World T20, Finch replied, “I think it’ll give Steven a chance to freshen up and just play. He’s been in amazing form for a long time now, so I think, to not have the captaincy and to just to be able to train and play like he did as a youngster is a great thing for him.
“And for me, personally, I enjoy having him around, obviously he’s got a lot of experience around the world. For me, it is a lot about learning as much as possible from them. Use them and their resources. Bounce ideas off them and get some feedback.”
“We’ve got an idea about what it might look like, and the beauty about having now these three T20s against India, the ODIs against New Zealand and the T20s against SA is that, there’s time for the guys who’ve got their opportunity to have a first crack at it and cement their spots for India. It’s all about the guys taking the opportunity and be at the forefront of the selectors’ minds when that 15-man squad is named,” he signed off.