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T20 WC: Aussies aim for historic treble

May 30, 2024 16:20 IST

Mitchell Marsh

IMAGE: Mitch Marsh will hope to deliver Australia's second T20 World Cup title. Photograph: ANI Photo

Australia bring an ageing squad and a few players short of fitness to the T20 World Cup but will have the same easygoing confidence that helped secure last year's test and ODI world championships.

Picking a winner in the short format's global showpiece is a mug's game, with at least six of the 20 nations bringing credible claims to the United States and the Caribbean.

No-one will be surprised, though, if it's Mitchell Marsh's men dancing in ticker-tape after the final in Barbados, with history made as the first nation to hold all three of cricket's top global trophies.

Australia boast world class players from top-to-tail and a champion outfit's conviction that no matter how bad things get, someone among them will carry the day.

That all-time batting great Steve Smith, a World Cup veteran and fielder-par-excellence, was left out of the squad speaks volumes of their depth.


Plenty of old hands remain, though, with 37-year-old opener David Warner to soak up his final farewell from international cricket and the usual pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood reporting for duty.

After leading Australia on an interim basis, all-rounder Marsh was confirmed as captain a few weeks ago and has pledged to keep the mood relaxed like his test and one-day captain Cummins.

Marsh will hope to deliver Australia's second T20 World Cup title, some two-and-a-half years after Aaron Finch's squad triumphed in the United Arab Emirates.

Once unhappy under the intense management of Justin Langer, Australia have enjoyed the light touch of head coach Andrew McDonald and chief selector George Bailey in recent years.

Yet if anything could wipe smiles from faces, it's memories of their failed title defence at the 2022 T20 World Cup on home soil.

One thumping, opening loss to New Zealand hobbled Australia's run-rate and led to them missing the semi-finals.

Mitchell Marsh

IMAGE: Australia boast world class players from top-to-tail. Photograph: ANI Photo

The chances of another first-up setback are remote against minnows Oman who Australia face in Barbados on June 5 before a proper test against defending champions England.

While Smith's omission barely raised a ripple among fans, there was a brief media storm when selectors overlooked batting sensation Jake Fraser-McGurk who lit up the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Delhi Capitals.

Fraser-McGurk was later named one of two reserve players to accompany the squad, and fans will be eager to see what the 22-year-old can do on the world stage if a team mate's injury opens the door.

Most of Australia's IPL players made an impact in the tournament but Warner struggled with a finger injury for Delhi and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell had modest numbers for Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

Marsh will go into the World Cup undercooked after not playing since early-April with a hamstring strain.

Most of the squad are over 30 and some will be managed carefully by staff.

Alarm bells are hardly ringing, though.

"Have we gone back to the tried and tested in terms of World Cups and the performers that we know can perform on that stage? There's no doubt about that," said McDonald.

"It's players that have been there before and done it and are still in good form."

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