With the Ashes looming in December, a resounding defeat to Eoin Morgan’s England in the ICC T20 World Cup ‘Super 12’ game has set alarm bells ringing in the Australian cricket establishment.
While T20 and Test crickets are chalk and cheese — and both sides will have nearly different sets of players and captains — cricket pundits such as Steve Waugh have said that “performance with the willow” will be a prerequisite if Australia is to set themselves up for a series triumph” in the series starting December 8 at The Gabba in Brisbane.
With his 32-ball 71 with a strike rate of nearly 222, England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler made the T20 World Cup ‘Super 12’ game against arch-rivals Australia in the UAE look so one-sided.
After the Tim Paine-led Test side’s inconsistency against India in the Test series Down Under, where the hosts lost 2-1 against an almost “second-string” India in December-January, former Australia Test captain Waugh has clearly stated that “the advantage belongs with the bat.”
In December 2020, the Justin Langer-coached side thrashed India in the first Test, bundling them for 36 in the second innings in Adelaide, before losing the series. The inconsistency is galling, felt Waugh.
“I think they’ve got to believe. Last year we lost a series we shouldn’t have lost and everyone thought we should have beaten India pretty comprehensively. So just getting some belief back,” Waugh said on SEN Breakfast on Wednesday.
“We need some runs, we need to score 300 runs in each innings. We need to score 600 runs per Test match, if we do that, we’ve got the bowlers to take the 20 wickets. It really is up to the batsmen to make the big scores. Just consistency and follow up (is the key). We won the first Test against India last year, bowled them out for 36 and lost the next Test match. So we’ve got to get a bit more consistency in our play.”
Waugh believes that consistency in batting can only be achieved with a stable opening partnership, which is currently “not set” due to Will Pucovski’s concussion difficulties. One opening slot will be secured by David Warner, but the other is up for grabs.
“It’s interesting with Will Pucovski not there. Marcus Harris is obviously the favourite, but then you’ve got people like Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, there are a number of options there. I think they’ll go with Marcus Harris if Will Pucovski’s not fit. Two left-handers, but that will present a bit of an issue because, in the previous Ashes series, (England’s) Stuart Broad really enjoyed bowling to the left-handers upfront. So that’s something they might have to consider,” said Waugh.
Waugh also expects Cameron Green, a batting all-rounder, to perform well in the Ashes.
“Cameron Green, for example, I believe has a chance to win the Ashes. I believe he is a unique talent, and he could be the one to come up to the bat.”
(With IANS inputs)