In the wake of the recent situation, where the sporting world has been grappling with the coronavirus, the cricketing bodies across the world are thinking through an outrageous idea of playing a team in two contrasting formats- Tests and T20Is on the same day. Australia have already gone down the path of picking two separate international teams, when, in 2017, the T20I side took on Sri Lanka at home while the Test team was in India.
Here, we take a look at the probable sides if Australia were to play Tests and T20Is on the same day.
Captain: Tim Paine
As has been the case, the Test side would most probably be led by the current captain, Tim Paine who had taken over Smith after the Sandpaper-gate fiasco. Paine would also double as the wicket-keeper and bat down the order.
Since David Warner is too perfect, you can’t keep him out of any of the squad. However, if the situation is such that Australia is playing outside Australia, Warner’s white ball average is better than the red ball. He has an average of more than 65 in 43 Tests at home, while the total average goes down to 48 in 84 Tests. If this fact is coupled with the fact that experienced and world-class players like Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne would be in the Test team, then Warner being in the T20 team is a much better option.
There would be three more surprise inclusions because of the separate set up. Shaun Marsh who has piled up runs in the Shield and Big Bash (724 at an average of 48.26 and 449 at an average of 37.41) would replace Warner and open with Joe Burns. Nic Maddinson, the leading Shield scorer (780 runs at an average of 86.66) would take the place usually occupied by Travis Head in the middle and newbie Cameroon Green (699 runs at an average of 63.54 in Shield) would play the all-important role of a batting all-rounder, previously being rotated between, Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis.
“Cameron Green is the next superstar of Australian cricket. He is a genuine prospect with bat and ball, but I think his future is as a batsman who can offer some quality overs. Cameron is a batsman of rare talent. At 6ft 7in, he could become something very special,” former Australian great Greg Chappell said of the emerging all-rounder.
Australian team has been gifted with a problem of plenty when it comes to bowlers. In their ranks, they have world-class bowlers like Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, etc. It would, therefore, be an easier department for selectors to make choices as compared to batting. Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins alongside James Pattinson, who are more or less Test specialists, will form the deadly pace trio and would be amply supported by the highest wicket-taker in Tests (among current spinners) Nathan Lyon.
Test XI- Joe Burns, Shaun Marsh, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Nic Maddinson, Cameroon Green, Tim Paine (Capt.), Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood
Captain: Aaron Finch
The T20 team would be all fire and no water concept it seems. With Aaron Finch leading the side and donning the hat of experienced opener alongside the fiery David Warner, his role becomes even more important in the absence of the likes of Steve Smith in the batting department.
Alongside Finch and Warner, Marcus Stoinis, the leading run-scorer (705 runs at an average of 54.23) in BBL-2020 would form the core of the batting department. They would be amply helped by an experienced and equally devastating pair of Glenn Maxwell and Travis Head. Maxwell had a dream run with Melbourne Stars as captain this season in BBL, until the finals, where the team lost. Maxwell though made 398 runs at an average of 39.8 and also took 10 wickets. At the end of the batting tunnel would be all-rounder Mitchell Marsh who would be supported by wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey.
The bowling department looks a lot more flexible with the likes of Maxwell, Head, Stoinis, and Marsh being able to bowl with precision as well. In that case, the main bowlers in the form of Mitchell Starc, who was fitted into the side because of his abilities to do more with the white ball than the red one and Kane Richardson would have less pressure to deliver.
The spinners in the form of Adam Zampa, a leg-spinner who is always important in the shortest format and Ashton Agar, who can not only turn the ball but can smoke it around at will (he showed both during recent South Africa tour), could play important roles.
“Mitchell Starc is a tough one as well. His ability in white-ball cricket, particularly with the new ball and at the death in T20s, is just so good. I felt I could cover him in the Test team with the likes of James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins – more sort of Test specialists,” former Australian cricketer, Mike Hussey had said about the paceman while picking his best XI.
T20I XI- David Warner, Aaron Finch (Capt.), Marcus Stoinis, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey (WK), Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa