ICC World Twenty20 2012 Preview - Australia
The ICC World Twenty20 is the only international triophy that Australia have failed to win. Following overhauls in the personnel picking the team and on the playing field, they have targeted this tournament from a long way out to put that particular wrong to rights.
In simple terms, they only need to improve by a fraction as in 2010, they produced a string of fine performances to reach the final, where they were beaten by old enemies England.
Michael Clarke was in charge on that day but after Cameron White was appointed and then removed after six matches in the job, George Bailey has been given the reins. White has been recalled to the side for the tournament on the back of plenty of runs with the Deccan Chargers and Northamptonshire.
The squad has balance written all over it. Power hitters White, Daniel Christian and Glenn Maxwell are unlikely to come in much above number seven in the order. David Hussey and Shane Watson are genuine all-rounders capable of turning a game with bat or ball. Even the likes of David Warner, Michael Hussey and White are on hand to bowl if required. In Hussey, Warner and wicket-keeper Matthew Wade three outstanding left-handers will bat in the top order to challenge their opponents.
In 41-year-old Brad Hogg they have the oldest man in the tournament, but also one of the most experienced. He retired only to return for the Big Bash and his form was so good that Australia gave him another go. Right from an early stage, this was earmarked as his tournament and he hasn't let them down as yet.
On the other end of the scale, Patrick Cummins and Mitchell Starc are already proving that despite their tender ages, they belong on the international stage.
The draw has thrown a fascinating rematch between them and the West Indies, where they will hope to exorcise the ghosts of The Oval in 2009 where Chris Gayle tore their attack to pieces as they made an early exit. They played against the West Indies twice in March, winning one and losing one so a close game can be expected - perhaps a moment of brilliance could be the deciding factor.
Although they will be taking nothing for granted, they will expect to beat Ireland, the other team in the group. The two sides have never met in a Twenty20 Internationals and although Craig McDermott has recently been named as Ireland's bowling coach, the gulf in class between the two sides should see Australia through.
1st February: beat India by 31 runs in Sydney
3rd February: lost to India by 8 wickets in Melbourne
27th March: beat West Indies by 8 wickets in St Lucia
30th March: lost to West Indies by 14 runs in Bridgetown
5th September: lost to Pakistan by 7 wickets in Dubai
7th September: lost to Pakistan on a super over in Dubai
10th September: beat Pakistan by 94 runs in Dubai
Previous Tournament Performances
2007: Knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual champions India
2009: Did not progress from the group, losing to the West Indies and Sri Lanka
2010: Runners-up to England
19th September v Ireland in Colombo
22nd September v West Indies in Colombo
George Bailey (captain), Dan Christian, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hogg, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wicket-keeper), David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.
© Cricket World 2012
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