Bailey wants Australia to use the series against Pakistan to get prepared for the ICC World Twenty20
Australia Twenty20 captain George Bailey has expressed his confidence in the same 15-man squad that was picked for the upcoming limited overs series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates to also represent their country in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 next month in Sri Lanka.
Australia will have to reveal their ICC World Twenty20 squad soon and as of right now, the 30-man provisional squad does have some surprising names such as Dirk Nannes and Ben Laughlin.
With the World Twenty20 looming over the horizon, Bailey expressed his gratitude towards the national selectors for giving him a variety of players, whose attributes lie in different areas.
Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, Bailey said: “Yeah I’d hope [it will be the same squad], all things being equal. Hopefully that group of guys performs and stays fit and I think that’s the 15 that will be best suited for us to go as far as we can in that tournament, we’ve got all bases covered. If we want to go in with a spin-laden team we can, or with all-rounders, or we’ve got some genuine pace. I think we’ve got absolutely everything covered for whatever conditions are thrown up in Sri Lanka. Also a lot of the games are played on the same venues, so we’re expecting towards the back end of the tournament perhaps some tired wickets.”
If Australia were to get past the group stages, which means beating the West Indies and Ireland, then Bailey and the rest of the Twenty20 squad could see an increase in intensity from the other nations that make it through as well.
Bailey, who was made captain in January, is a relatively new face in the Australian Twenty20 squad, whereby he will not even have played in ten Twenty20 Internationals by the end of the group stages.
Since becoming captain, Bailey has led Australia to two wins and two losses in Twenty20 cricket.
With the training sessions for the upcoming limited overs series against Pakistan having commenced, the Australian Twenty20 squad have not been team-mates for more than four months, and this has proved to be a major concern for Bailey and the national selectors.
Some of the players added to the squad were on the Australian ODI squad, while others have played county cricket in Australia and in other leagues around the world.
Many cricket pundits and Australian cricket fans will be watching Australia’s series against Pakistan very carefully since it will be an opportunity for them to witness how strong the team really is.
“The back end of that Dubai tour will be really good, it will be the first time we’ve been able to get that squad together for an extended period. Even just the time in Sri Lanka for the warm-up games I think will be really important just to actually start to get a feel for our specific roles and just having the group together continuously. I think that’s been our biggest challenge as a cricket team, Twenty20 wise, has been just finding out about being a team rather than just a group of guys thrown together,” Bailey said.
Australia’s team chemistry will have to be at an all time high if they are going to have any chance to win the World Twenty20, unlike in 2010, where they lost to England in the finals.
Even though Australia are currently sitting at ninth on the on the ICC’s Twenty20 rankings, Bailey believes that rank will not matter in the tournament, as every team has a chance to win it.
“I reckon there’s about nine teams that at this stage could put their hands up and say they can win the tournament, we firmly believe we’re one of those. Playing in the subcontinent means all the subcontinent teams will be pretty dangerous. England and South Africa have got great depth and consistency in their teams and the way they play at the moment they’ll be dangerous,” Bailey said.
However, Bailey expressed his concerns about getting past the West Indies, who have been branded as one of the teams with the best chance of winning the tournament.
“First and foremost our biggest worry is West Indies, who are in our group. They have a team that is absolutely made for T20, great balance of pace, good spin bowlers and some of the best hitters in the world. It’s going to be really tough and it’s going to be very much about gelling our team and getting our heads around the fact that if we can put our best cricket together for two weeks, something very special could be at the other end,” Bailey added.