Australia goes into the Twenty20 World Cup tournament it will host as defending champions, an honour it’s hardly had time to savour since winning the title last November in Dubai.
It’s been a difficult and disrupted last two years for the event because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, the tournament was to be held in 2020 but in July of that year the International Cricket Council postponed it due to the pandemic. A month later, the ICC confirmed that Australia would host the rearranged tournament in 2022.
Then, to complicate matters even more in the event that is usually held every two years, the T20 World Cup originally scheduled to take place in India in 2021 was moved to the United Arab Emirates and Oman, where Australia — the most prolific World Cup winner in the 50-over format — won the title for the first time.
Australia beat New Zealand on Nov. 14 in last year’s final. If it happens to successfully defend its title in the final on Nov. 13 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, it will have been champion for a year and a day. And also become the first country to win two T20 World Cup titles in a row.
Here are a few other things to know about Australia at this year’s T20 World Cup, which starts Oct. 16
Singapore-born allrounder Tim David, after being signed by the Mumbai Indians for more than a million dollars in this year’s Indian Premier League auction, decided to be part of Australia’s squad. The 26-year-old David played 14 T20 matches for Singapore in 2019 and 2020, averaging 46.5 with the bat.
David was born in Singapore but moved to Western Australia with his Australian family when he was 2 and was raised in Perth. “He is a highly gifted, natural ball striker who will add extra batting depth to the group which has had a lot of success in T20 cricket,” Australian selector George Bailey said of David when the team was announced. Opener David Warner, last year’s championship star Mitchell Marsh and pace bowler Josh Hazlewood are among the returnees from the 2021 winning team.
Warner agreed on Bailey’s assessment of David, saying it was “really important” to have a player like him in the team. On form, David is edging ahead of former test captain Steve Smith to get a start in the team’s World Cup opener against New Zealand on Oct. 22. Warner said senior players in the team needed to take the pressure off David so he could play his way with a “clear mind.”
He described a recent innings where David produced a match-turning innings against the West Indies after a run of wickets as “fearless cricket.”
“That is what we like about our brand at the moment,” Warner said. “We are playing that. Everyone is owning their own space.”
Skipper Aaron Finch has moved around the top order in warmup series against West Indies and England but is most likely to open with Warner in what could be his last tournament for Australia. He has already stood down as Australia’s ODI captain.
Tall allrounder Cameron Green has been batting at the top of the order and bowling in warmup games and is on standby to join the squad in case of injuries.
Some Aussie history
Australia’s win in Dubai last year came after it chased down 172 runs to beat the Kiwis by eight wickets, with Marsh belting an unbeaten 77 from 50 balls and Warner adding 53. Hazlewood took 3-16 in his four overs in his recall to the short format. In 2010, Australia lost in the final to England by seven wickets in the West Indies. The Australians have also made the semifinals twice — in 2007 and 2012.
Australia wide tour
Australia is playing in Group 1 with Afghanistan, England, New Zealand and two qualifiers from the preliminary phase. The hosts will play a blockbuster opener against New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground in a replay of last year’s final. Then the team moves to Perth, Western Australia for a match three days later on Oct. 25 against the Group A winner. The Aussies also play Oct. 28 at the MCG against England, Oct. 31in Brisbane against the Group B runner-up and finishes the preliminary round with a Nov. 4 encounter against Afghanistan in Adelaide.
Aaron Finch (captain), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.