A BATTING WITH BIMAL BREAKING REPORT: Shane Watson and David Warner must make strong start priority, says Mickey Arthur

Warner and Watson have established themselves as one of the most dangerous opening pairs in Twenty20 history

Whenever David Warner and Shane Watson have come out guns blazing it seems as if Australia, who were astoundingly ranked 10th on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty20 team rankings before the start of the World Twenty20, are unstoppable and coach Mickey Arthur believes strong starts to the Australian innings will be key throughout the World Twenty20.

Warner and Watson have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with and with Michael Hussey backing them up lower down the order, many cricket pundits believe that the Australians possess the greatest clean hitting batsmen out of all the international teams.

Arthur believes that the start Warner and Watson provide will usually dictate the outcome of the match.

“If you lose early wickets in this kind of format and you play a tentative brand you get yourself into trouble, it just shows the beginning of each of your innings are crucial. If your openers get you off to a really good start, you get momentum and it sets you up for a score. And then if your opening bowlers start the same way and you take early wickets, you can put the opposition under some real pressure,” Arthur said.

Even though Sri Lanka has been known for its spin-friendly pitches, Arthur believes Australia’s pace attack can still play a huge role in taking early wickets and putting early pressure on the opposing batsmen.

“I’ve heard it so often said that pace doesn’t play a role in the sub-continent, pace through the air plays a role anywhere. If the guys can deliver their variations, they’re going to pick up a lot of wickets. The best way to stop the [scoring] rate in Twenty20 cricket is by taking wickets, so you need guys who do something a little bit different. So you want those x-factor players,” Arthur added.

Speaking about x-factor players, many cricket pundits believe Australia have taken a huge gamble by including veteran spinner Brad Hogg in the side, but Arthur was quick to defend the selectors decision.

“We’ve got the x-factor of a little bit of pace. We don’t possess a Saeed Ajmal, but we’ve got other guys who certainly compensate for that. Brad Hogg bowling through the middle overs has the ability like Saeed Ajmal has to take wickets,” Arthur said.

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