Southampton: Australia is willing to give recalled all-rounder Marcus Stoinis a longer run to help him evolve as a finisher in the mould of former India skipper MS Dhoni, said vice-captain Pat Cummins.
Stoinis' unbeaten 23 off 18 balls was not enough as Australia slipped from 124-2 to 148-6 to lose the opening T20I against hosts England by two runs on Friday.
Australia have a lot of quality players who bat in the top-order for their domestic T20 sides but the world number one team is still searching for a batsman in the middle-order who can finish off games.
Opening the batting, Stoinis, 31, scored 705 runs for Melbourne Stars to top the BBL runs chart last season. However, his inability to rotate the strike early in the innings has been one of the reasons why he was left out of the 2019 World Cup.
"It's something we've spoken about for exactly that reason — they're all the best players when they go back to playing domestic comps," Cummins was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.
"You could argue that the middle-order role is one of the hardest in any cricket team. That's what we've identified, we've got to give guys a go. Someone like MS Dhoni, he was one of the best in the world because he played 3-400 ODI games. You saw during this week's practice games we gave a lot of guys a go in that."
Cummins said Australia has identified the roles and wants to give the players enough game time to cement their places.
"We know it's not going to happen overnight. That's been a common theme that selectors and Finchy have spoken about: we'll identify roles and give them a long run in that.
"I think we've got the right squad, the right players, it's about getting plenty of games into everyone now," the pace spearhead said.
Australia's first competitive match in nearly six months was played in front of empty stands due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Cummins said it was "strange".
"I don't think it made any difference to the performance but for sure it was strange," Cummins said.
"Until Starcy's bowling the first over and you can hear a pin drop it's weird. After a couple of overs we got into it.
"Just odd unless we create the noise in the field there is absolutely no noise happening. Bit of an adjustment but everyone's played enough cricket.
"I don't think the crowd makes too much of a difference a lot of the time but it is certainly different here in England and not hearing some of the songs."
Australia's numero uno ranking and a run of four series victories will be on the line when they take on England in the second T20I on Sunday.
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