It's not hard to see why Australia are usually the darling of the cricketing world.
A culture of winning, a history of legendary players, everyone is paid well and the administration is rather settled.
Yet somehow, despite all of these natural advantages, Australian selectors just can't get their heads around T20.
Specifically, the triumvirate of Rod Marsh, Mark Waugh and Trevor Hohns have no clue as to what Australia's best T20 international team looks like. Given we are only weeks from the ICC World Twenty20, the reasonable man would see this as an issue.
It is not as though we haven't seen the impacts of this type of substandard planning before. Remember England's 2014 World Cup campaign?
It appears as though Australia see that as some kind of shining light rather than the abyss of clarity that it actually was. Let's take a look in detail at the Australian ICC World Twenty20 squad:
Steve Smith (c) — Takes over from Finch as the T20 skipper. Hard to argue that he is a better bet as captain but why do it now after Australia have just played a 3-match T20 series against India? England pulled this stunt when they sacked Alastair Cook just before the ODI World Cup. Instability is never a good thing. It becomes worse when it is the leader.
David Warner (v-c) — The world's best opener in any format. Nothing to see here.
Ashton Agar — Plenty to see here. An absolute shocker of a call. Rod Marsh has an Agar addiction. It is completely unjustified. The standard argument is that the squad is more "balanced" with a left-arm spinner. The brutal reality is that a good bowler will be a better prospect than a less-good bowler, irrespective of which arm they use.
Nathan Coulter-Nile — There is a world ICC trophy up for grabs and Australia have picked a player who hasn't stepped on a field since December due to injury. A ridiculous selection given the abundance of other fit all-rounders who did well in the Big Bash.
James Faulkner — The "Finisher" hasn't been in the best of form this summer but deserves to hold his place.
Aaron Finch — The world's number two T20I batsman according to the ICC. He isn't. He has also just lost his place as captain which can't be helping his confidence. However, he is a tough little cookie and I expect him to perform well if he actually gets a game. Will be fighting with Watson and possibly Khawaja for an openers spot.
John Hastings — Will be Australia's all rounder rock during the tournament. A dependable squad member.
Josh Hazlewood — Without Michell Starc out due to injury, Hazlewood will shoulder the burden of carrying the attack. Although, I'm not sure if bowling 4 overs a match allows you to carry anything?
Usman Khawaja — If he wasn't picked, there would have been riots in the streets. Usman makes 50s even when out of form.
Mitchell Marsh — Likely won't bat much given these are T20 matches, but his bowling will be handy.
Glenn Maxwell — Needs a big tournament after a disappointing summer and ODI series in New Zealand. Did not bowl much during the Big Bash, so it is not clear yet how the selectors view his role.
Peter Nevill — Comes in for Matthew Wade, despite not being able to get a game ahead of him for the Renegades in the Big Bash. If you want to replace Wade, then surely Tim Paine was a better bet?
Andrew Tye — One of the better bowlers in the Big Bash. Likely deserves his place on form.
Shane Watson — The giant of Australian white ball cricket. His bowling is likely to be as important than his batting. Speaking of batting, where does he come in? Open with Warner? Usman and Smith probably take spots 3 and 4. He is too low at number 5. Dilemmas.
Adam Zampa — Cameron Boyce was the incumbent and did nothing wrong. There is no dispute that Zampa is an exciting leg-spinner and knows how to run people out with his face, but is an ICC event the place to find out if he is ready for the next level?
Of course, for every strange selection, Australia have managed some absolute shockers of non-selection. Where is George Bailey? Why was Scott Boland given such a run during the summer if he is now not part of the squad?
Can anyone actually tell me what the best Australian team is, because it is not very obvious. Compounding this is that Australia have found themselves in the toughest group. It includes India, Pakistan and New Zealand.
This will not end well.
First Published On : Feb 10, 2016 14:17 IST