Battered and bruised after a 5-0 thrashing in the one-day international series, Australia will hope for a reversal in fortunes when they take on England in a one-off Twenty20 International at Edgbaston in Birmingham. While things have not gone to plan in the 50-over format for Australia, they are a much tighter unit in the shortest format of the game. They are currently second on the ICC T20I team rankings, just behind Pakistan, and have been victorious in seven of their last eight T20Is. Their most recent triumph in the 20-over format came in the Trans-Tasman tri-nation series involving England and New Zealand where under the captaincy of David Warner they won all of their five games, including the final.
The team will, of course, be without Warner this time, and there are more key changes from the ODI squad that was walloped by England as well. For starters, Aaron Finch will lead the side. Tim Paine, the ODI captain, will also hand over wicket-keeping duties to Alex Carey, who has been named vice-captain.
"Losing 5-0 is not acceptable for the Australian cricket team. We don't want that result ever again," Carey said as the squad arrived in Birmingham. “(But) our T20 is going really well, we're second in the world at the moment and we want to go one better.” The Australians are spoilt for choice at the top of the order with D'Arcy Short, Finch, Travis Head and Carey all able openers. While Short, who opened during the Trans-Tasman T20I series, is likely to keep his place, it will be interesting to see who partners him.
“It's going to be what's best for the side," said Carey on the possible team combination. "Most batters want to be in the top three but the good thing about this side is we're young, we're excited and everyone is happy to play any role for the team.”
It is still unclear whether Glenn Maxwell, who missed the last two ODIs with a shoulder injury, has recovered. If he hasn't, Australia could opt for Nic Maddinson, who has shown good domestic form. The bowling unit looks settled, with Billy Stanlake, Kane Richardson and Jhye Richardson likely to form the pace attack. Marcus Stoinis will in all likelihood do the all-round duties while Ashton Agar will don the spinner's hat. For England, it is more about keeping the momentum going. Unlike their ODI form, they haven't been at their best in T20Is. They have lost four of their last five, and are currently fifth on the rankings chart.
The T20I squad is not too dissimilar to the ODI setup. Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler are once again expected to form the crux of the attack. Liam Plunkett will most likely lead the pace department and there is also a chance that brothers Sam and Tom Curran become the first pair of brothers to play in the same England side this century. Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, who were in imperious form in the ODIs, will carry out the spin duties.
Squads: England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jake Ball, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth, Kane Richardson
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First Published: June 27, 2018, 10:46 PM IST