Here’s who I’ve picked for Australia’s first T20 against England.
1. Aaron Finch (c) 2. Marcus Stoinis 3. Alex Carey (wk) 4. Steve Smith 5. Glenn Maxwell 6. Daniel Sams 7. Ashton Agar 8. Pat Cummins 9. Mitchell Starc 10. Adam Zampa 11. Kane Richardson
Opening the batting I have Finch and Stoinis. They have both come back from the long break in great form. Finch has a great T20 record and is captain so holds his place in the team. Stoinis beats out both David Warner and Matthew Wade – he had a great BBL and has continued this form in the practice matches. He also offers another bowling option if needed.
Warner looks to be struggling at the moment but, in all honesty, I can see the selectors choosing him over Stoinis from his previous record. Wade is unlucky to not make my starting 11 and I could possibly play him at number six instead of Sams – but I feel he is best suited to opening the batting.
I have Carey taking the gloves over Josh Philippe and Wade and also batting at three over Smith. He looks to have come back from the break in great form making 50* and 107 in his two batting appearances. He has never really been given an opportunity to bat higher up the order and this would be a great chance for him.
If an early wicket falls he can be handy in the power play and also has the ability to move through the gears and accelerate when needed.
I have Smith batting at four. While he hasn’t had the best start you can never keep a player like Smith down for long. He made a quickfire 41 opening the batting and has the ability to rescue an innings and also accelerate if needed.
I have Maxwell batting at 5. He’s Australia’s best finisher and instead of Australia trying to convert someone into a finisher (because they can score really quickly opening the batting), they should let Maxy do what he does best. He also offers another spin option if needed.
Depending on the match situation Carey, Smith and Maxwell can interchange in the batting order. I have left Marnus Labuschagne out of my team even though he did make 100 opening the batting. In the other two matches, he batted at number five making just one off four deliveries and seven off nine and hasn’t played a lot T20.
I have Daniel Sams batting at number six over Mitch Marsh as a bowling all-rounder. Marsh has struggled batting in the middle order and with Stoinis in the team as a bowling option as well, Sams offers more with his bowling and has shown glimpses of what he can do batting. As I mentioned earlier, Wade could be an option here if they were to go with another batsman.
I’ve gone with the spin bowling combination of Agar and Zampa, leaving Nathan Lyon out. All three performed well in the practice games but, at this stage, Agar and Zampa have the proven record to beat out Lyon.
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For my pace attack I’ve gone with Cummins, Starc and Richardson. They have been the three main pace bowlers over the last 12 months. Cummins looks like he hasn’t missed a beat and is also performing well with the bat. Starc looks to have struggled not taking a wicket in the three T20 warm-up games but he has the best economy out of all the quicks. He also has a proven record being one the best bowlers in the world.
I’ve kept Richardson in the team over Andrew Tye as he is one of the best death bowlers. I’ve also left Josh Hazlewood ou. He hasn’t played a lot of T20 cricket and he is a too similar bowler to Cummins – in the T20 format you need more variety.