The few things Australia can glean from ODI series win over England for World Cup tilt




It’s important that the Australian cricket team doesn’t read too much into this one-day series sweep over England but there were a few small steps taken on the road to next year’s World Cup.

England were suffering from a T20 World Cup hangover – figuratively and literally, at least for the first game – so Australia shouldn’t be doing too many cartwheels even though they comfortably accounted for the reigning champions in both white-ball formats. 

Australia made the mistake of thinking their T20 campaign was on track when they beat a jet-lagged West Indies side – their opponents didn’t even end up qualifying for the Super 12 stage and the host nation’s realistic formline was shown in the warm-up clashes with England, which showed they were actually off the pace.

This three-match 50-over series was not warmly received by fans at the venue or via pay TV but the selectors at least partially solved a few problem areas less than 12 months out from the World Cup.

CLICK HERE for a seven-day free trial to watch international cricket on KAYO

Travis suited to Head off the order

Travis Head looks like he can establish himself as Australia’s ODI opener long term, taking over from Aaron Finch. He will be a bit hit and miss but as we saw with his pace-setting 69 from 57 in game one and his blistering 152 from 130 in Melbourne that he can score quickly when the ball’s coming onto the bat.

See also  LAWRENCE BOOTH: Cricket delivered a perfect tribute and showed football how they could have done it

Australia have been lacking punch at the top of the order due to Finch’s struggles and Warner’s erstwhile century drought.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 22: Travis Head of Australia bats during game three of the One Day International series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 22, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

(Photo by Graham Denholm – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Warner should think before he speaks

All he had to say earlier this week was that he was happy to be a step closer to having his leadership ban lifted when news came through that Cricket Australia was changing its code of conduct by-laws, subsection 23B, clause C, paragraph eleventeen, etc. 

But “The Reverend” reverted to being “The Bull” and Warner couldn’t help himself and used the opportunity to reiterate that he is “not a criminal”, the saga was “frustrating”, “traumatic” and “a tad disappointing” while pointing CA’s drawn-out process “makes me look like I’m campaigning”.

If there is such a person who is advising him on what to say before he speaks publicly, they need to resign. And if there’s not, he needs to get one right away.

Shut, the and up were three of the four words of advice he needed to hear before he spoke to reporters on Monday about the latest development in the long-winded drama. 

Let your batting do the talking – his hundred in game three shores up his spot in one of the three formats, he now needs to ensure his spot in the Test team before doing likewise in the T20 format next year.

See also  All-rounder Shardul Thakur replaces Axar Patel, Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan retain places in WC squad • InsideSport

Hazlewood a legit captaincy option

After stepping in for the resting Pat Cummins in game two at the SCG in his usual cool and calm manner, there’s no reason why Josh Hazlewood shouldn’t get more chances to lead Australia in the white-ball formats when they pop up.

As one of the very few players assured of a start in the T20 side, he should be handed the captaincy of that team when Finch formally retires or is told to do so. 

There are no T20 matches scheduled for Australia again until next August so they can focus on the 50-over format but the 31-year-old fast bowler could be the best option for the next few years before Cameron Green is experienced enough to take the helm.

Second spin spot still up for grabs

Ashton Agar went wicketless in his two matches and the selectors will likely persist with him more often than not between now and when the World Cup squad is announced but he has left the door slightly ajar for another tweaker to jump the queue.

The Aussies are not due to play another ODI until the trip to India in February-March so it’s likely another spinner or two like Matt Kuhnemann or Mitchell Swepson could get a trundle on that tour to audition for the role of Adam Zampa’s understudy.

Zampa’s Test potential shouldn’t be ignored

The 30-year-old from the NSW South Coast is ranked 15th in the ICC ODI bowler rankings, second among leg spinners behind Rashid Khan. He starred with 3-55 in Adelaide, 4-45 in Sydney and then bagged 4-31 at the MCG. 

He’s up to 127 wickets in 76 ODIs for his career (14th overall) and has just Brad Hogg (142) and Shane Warne (291) ahead of him on the all-time list of Aussie spinners. 

His first-class record is modest but it is not far fetched to suggest that with his accuracy, he could be a decent second spin option in Tests on the subcontinent. He doesn’t quite have the pace and bounce of Indian legend Anil Kumble but if he can bowl in a similar fashion, he could be an alternative to Swepson, who is slower through the air but a bigger turner of the ball.

Middle-order logjam presents options

Steve Smith is locked in at first drop and Alex Carey and Green are all but certain to play in Australia’s best line-up so that leaves two spots for Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell, when he returns from his broken leg, to fight over. 

Marsh and Labuschagne enhanced their prospects with a well-compiled half-century each but none of this quartet has proven to be consistently reliable at ODI level in recent years. 

Oh yeah, don’t bother putting ODIs on in November

CA is hamstrung by the small windows available in the ICC’s Future Tours programme but even against a traditional drawcard like England, the Australian public is not going to turn out for a three-match bilateral series before the Tests in the summer schedule.

January was taken off the agenda for ODIs by South Africa and February was not an option this time around because of the Indian tour but the crowds of  15,420 at Adelaide Oval, 16,993 at the SCG and 10,406 in Melbourne are a sure sign that the dying version of international cricket won’t survive outside the peak interest times.

There is not an ODI scheduled in Australia now until January 2024. Sadly, would that many people really miss this format if it didn’t come back into the annual summer schedule?





Source link