I gave this article a while before diving into it and trash talking and recalling each and every moment, aspect or player in our performance against the West Indies which resulted in us losing the semi-final encounter.
Instead I’d like to once again say well done to the West Indies. I tip them to win and stated before the tournament that in the event we didn’t win that they would. Wishing them all the best against Sri Lanka.
They won a toss that was crucial for them and they made the most of it.
Good luck to the Southern Stars though as they have made the final of the ICC Women’s World T20 tournament. They will play England and will be defending their title. All the best to the stars!
Our performance was very numbing to watch and very disappointing against the Windies.
We were flat with the death bowling and sadly when our top order failed the middle order had zero substance to hold the fort. It was George Bailey who came out swinging and he was the only batsman who fought after our chances slipped to near impossible.
George has been criticised that he is a default selection.
Yes, he is far from a threatening T20 batsman to the opposition but he’s no push over and he proved it with his performance against the Windies and in a few of his ODI matches for us.
Having followed him with the Tasmanian Tigers he knows how to hold his own in any form and say what you want but he has more value at present than quite a few of our other listed players.
Sylvester (blog contributor) and I had a chat when the side was selected for the ICC World T20.
We both agreed our bowling attack had decent balance and a good mix. I still maintain that opinion but may just point a few fingers that we played our tactics wrong in the semi-final with the mix. Was also annoying Clint McKay and Ben Hilfenhaus didn’t get a game.
Xavier Doherty got a panel beating in the semi-final. However he was instrumental in our win against the Proteas and he did well against Pakistan as well, but it should have been a short use tactic and not stretched into this stage of the competition. It’s also blatantly obvious Chris Gayle is no fool when bring down the arching axe on a spin bowler. Remember Nathan Hauritz at the WACA?
George Bailey made some odd decisions and the Windies just had a bloody awesome game with the bat in hand. It happens and whatever our plans for execution were, they were horribly off and we paid the price.
However, Sly and I both agreed on two things which we’ll look into but basically it was that Cam White and David Hussey were risky selections despite their reputations in a positive light.
I hate to point of specific players in a negative light but it’s relevant.
The first thing was that Cam White had seemed to regain some confidence based on his IPL and English T20 performances. The thing is he’s a confidence player and when he gets into Australian gear now he systematically shuts down and becomes a walking wicket if he doesn’t hit the ground running. He had a good knock against The Proteas but it is unlikely enough.
The second was David Hussey. As much as a wonderful player he is when representing the Victorian Bushrangers, he has remained an inconsistent player for Australia in T20 and ODI cricket.
I must stress that I think Dussey is a great cricketer but I have never had him top of my list for internationals in limited overs.
As inconsistent as he may been with his performances for us, the selectors have been just an inconsistent in using him. In Cam White’s case I feel his selection is driven through the fact he has played for Australia and performed on a few occasions. There is a perceived reputation which is sadly not enough to warrant longevity.
Sly and I both agreed that the move of Glenn Maxwell was a good one.
A young guy with no confidence hang ups, no baggage and no inconsistency. It was selecting a young man, fresh to learn and eager to go. He was dropped at the expense of Dussey for the semi-final.
We played a guy out of form and a guy with an inconsistent track record who has played little cricket for us. Matthew Wade also struggled with the bat and it was amusing how Darren Sammy immediately took to Narine when he came out to bat. Smart tactical execution.Wadey’s keeping was good though, his primary job!
My ideal replacements looking ahead are as follows for Twenty20 cricket to merge into ODI cricket.
Primarily it would be Aaron Finch and Travis Birt. Both of them are young blokes who have made an impression at State level and of course they have represented Australia in Twenty20 cricket.
Why leave them out and what wast he intention of playing them back then?
Prior to the squad announcement I was vocal that they should have been given a run.
Besides their abilities being suited to T20 cricket there was the same aspect as I felt with Maxwell. No confidence hang ups, no baggage and no inconsistency to rap on about at international level.
We missed a trick with the selections in our middle and this was obvious.
Fortunately our selectors had their mishap covered with the brilliance of Shane Watson who had a terrific time as our all-rounder and the backing of David Warner and Michael Hussey.
Watto’s amazing all-rounder performances did somewhat cloud our team balance. That simply showed how lucky we are to have such a talented limited overs cricketer and how fortunate we were he is in form.
Sadly though in the big games when he didn’t get a truck load of runs we realised we were driving along lightly with a fragile middle order.
Kudos to Watto though.
249 runs at 49.80 with 3 fifties in just 6 innings is a remarkable effort along with 11 wickets.
I wouldn’t have wanted to have been near him when he stormed into the change room after being bowled and I know he will be livid with himself for “letting the team down” but you can’t do it every game.
He still gave us some special batting to witness and played a dominant role in getting us to the semi-finals.
We knew the top order was vital to our success. This wasn’t even a negative, it was a blessing to have such a brilliant top order but it was also obvious a ready to fire middle order was needed.
Michael Hussey showed his value to our side yet again but being up the order it seriously exposed our middle order and highlighted his excellence. Not like he needs to prove it anymore in limited overs.
He saved us in our game against Pakistan and has executed a number of rescue missions for us over the years.
Like Watto though he failed in the final and that is a humiliating feeling for a player like Huss or Watto. Having said this I still find the positives and take the time to acknowledge a players input, especially a player as dedicated and brilliant as Huss.
I will continue to sing the same old song but Callum Ferguson is Hussey’s limited overs replacement.
Right now we don’t have that determined, smart, flexible sort of player in this side.
Irrespective of whether we won this tournament the fact is that as a supporter I do not feel at ease when we get into our middle order. It’s not criticism as well, if has been made perfectly clear is a legitimate fault.
Therefore I call for the selectors to assess the strengths of this side which is as clear as day but really show some balls and make some hard decisions moving forward. Don’t just blood new players.
Look at guys who’ve had a bit of exposure who are in a position with their career to be blended into our T20 and ODI sides.
Batting wise there’s Aaron Finch, Travis Birt, Callum Ferguson, Mitchell Marsh and even Phillip Hughes who has far too much emphasis placed upon him as a longer format player. He’s a mighty fine limited overs cricketer as well.
Let’s make some cuts and get these younger guys toughened up and in the side. Why not?
Moving forward our focus will be shifted to State cricket and Test cricket is next on the list as we have a huge series against the Proteas. A big challenge in our quest to get back to number 1 in Test cricket, the pinnacle of the game.
Australian ICC World T20 Statistics: Courtesy of ESPN Cricinfo.com