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Australia’s best are back, but will it be enough for a title tilt?

News Analysis

These are the players that took the side to No. 1 in 2020 but the balance of the XI remains uncertain

Winning form is good form, and Australia has no form to speak of ahead of the T20 World Cup.

However, the return of their best and most experienced players for the tournament has given the team hierarchy some confidence within the four walls of hotel quarantine, despite the noise outside surrounding tension between the coach Justin Langer and the players.

The presence of David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Kane Richardson gives the squad a familiar feel to the one that won nine of 11 matches and four consecutive series in 2019-20, just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Australia were ranked No.1 in the ICC T20I rankings in May 2020 for the first time in history. Since then they have lost five consecutive T20I series and won just six of 21 matches, a record that has heaped enormous pressure on the coach.

But Warner and Cummins haven’t played a T20I since September 2020, missing four of those series. Smith has been absent for the last 15 matches, while Maxwell, Stoinis and Richardson have missed the last 10. Aaron Finch played with an injury in the Caribbean against West Indies and missed the entire Bangladesh series.

The recent results raise a broader question about Australian cricket that runs beyond the current coach. It shows Australia’s lack of T20 depth compared to India and England’s almost unlimited supply of high-quality T20 players and puts the BBL firmly into focus in terms of the league’s inability to produce readymade international players with the gap between T20I and BBL cricket seemingly as wide as ever.

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