Australia had a poor 2018, winning just two from 13 ODI’s and losing five bilateral series' in the process. The trend has been carried forward from 2017, where they won one of their last five games.
Over the course of those results from February 2017 to December 2018, Australia used 32 players. That number goes up by two with the inclusions of Usman Khawaja and Peter Siddle, the latter whom is making his first ODI appearance in eight years.
Australia’s biggest problem has been their batting with an average of 27.68 runs per wicket with the bat in 2018 — its lowest since 1997.
“I think it’s our style of play, to be honest. The game’s moved forward since the 2015 World Cup and I don’t think we’ve quite moved that way with the trends of the game, so from our point of view it’s making sure that we get our style right — you’ve got to score 300 plus to be competitive,” Haddin told Fox Sports.
In the last 13 games, Australia have managed to score in excess of 300 only thrice.
England, the current top-ranked ODI side, made eight 300+ scores in 24 matches. New Zealand made five from 16 games and India four from 20.
According to Haddin Australia needed to play freely to be able to defend their title in May in England and Wales.
“I think we’ve just played like we’re a bit scared,” Haddin said.
“But we know in one-day cricket you’ve got to make sure that you’re playing brave and moving the game forward.”
Former Australian captains and World Cup winners Shane Warne and Allan Border concur, with both also of the belief that Australia are yet to get their team combination right.
“They’ve decided to go with the cautious approach and just see how that looks,” Warne said in commentary for Fox Sports.
“Obviously a lot depends on Aaron Finch at the top of the order. He’s such a powerful player, he got the most runs in the calendar year last year for Australia, so they need him to fire. But if he doesn’t fire, you look at (Usman) Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, (Peter) Handscomb... there’s not much firepower after that.
“And as Aaron Finch said to me at the toss, ‘we want to have wickets in hand through the middle overs. We’ve struggled against the spinners and then have wickets in-hand and excel and bash it at the end.’
“Is that the style that’s going to win you a World Cup?”
He also said, “They’re really stuck because going the power option very rarely have they been able to bat the 50 overs. I think they’ve gone too much to the extreme. I think it’s somewhere in-between they’ll eventually get there before the World Cup — they’ll have a mixture of power and precision.”
Border, who led Australia to their maiden World Cup triumph in 1987 in India, criticised the current structure.
“Do you reckon we’re just playing a bit of lip service to our domestic 50 over tournament?” Border said in commentary.
“So developing players. We play our JLT Cup at the start of the season on club grounds really and it’s over and done within a month... and that’s 50 over cricket done with domestically. So are we developing the right sort of players? Like, who did well in the JLT Cup? No one really remembers.”
It's worth noting that the three leading runscorers from the JLT Cup — Chris Lynn, Ben McDermott and D’Arcy Short — were all dropped for the ODI series against India.
The second ODI takes place at Adelaide on Tuesday (15 January).
Alan BorderAustralian cricket teamBrad Haddinicc world cup 2019India vs AustraliaIndia vs Australia 2018Shane Warne
First Published: January 12, 2019, 9:36 PM IST