"If you miss, West Indies batsmen will punish you"

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12 Jul 2021 | 03:25 AM
authorcricket.com staff

"If you miss, West Indies batsmen will punish you"

Australian assistant coach said they might bring in a genuine pacer to counter Russell's power

Having lost the first two T20Is, Australia now want to fight fire with fire against Andre Russell and Co. in the remaining three encounters. The visitors failed to chase down 145 in the first T20I and were then blown away by 56 runs in the second game. 

Russell has so far smoked 75 runs from only 36 deliveries, studded with seven maximums. Australian assistant coach Andrew McDonald said his team will stick to bowling him wide of off stump, but could bring in a genuine pacer like Riley Meredith to counter Russell's power. 

"The wider option to take him away from that short side (of the ground) is clearly there. Do we need some more ball speed to go with Mitch and Josh to give us some more impact through the middle to potentially shrink the game in terms of runs?

"Our plans have been there, and they will work. If you miss to this group of batters you're going to get punished and that's what we've seen. They're a strong a hitting team and we were under no illusions of that coming in and it was our reality again yesterday."

Australia might have struggled to stop the likes of Russell and Shimron Hetmyer but they have lost both games largely because of their batting unit. They lost seven wickets for just 38 runs in the first match and then lost the same number of wickets for 39 runs in the second T20I. Mitchell Marsh at 3 is the only thing that's working for Australia in the batting department.

"There's definitely some things to consider at the selection table. Whether you want to expose a couple of fast bowlers to see what that looks like in among Starc and Hazelwood," said McDonald.

"You'd like to think some guys will get some opportunities at different times, and not be out of the team due to form. There's no doubt there's some consideration. We're playing a different balance of team … so that's been a shift."

This is the first time in a decade Australia have been bowled out in consecutive T20Is. McDonald believes Australia's bowling more or less looks sorted but wants the batsmen to pull their socks up.

Australia don't have a fixed batting order yet as four of their top six batters are used to batting in the top three. The likes of Josh Philippe and Ben McDermott prefer batting up the order and have been standout performers for respective BBL franchises.

"It's fair to say historically, players coming out of domestic level haven't shifted into the Australian side at the exact position they've played at the level below. If you're exposing someone to a new position at a higher level, there's going be some getting used to that. Some will fly out of the blocks straightaway, some will take some games to get used to that.

"Ben McDermott is batting six, how many times has he batted at six (in the BBL)? You can go back to the Marcus Stoinis (example) as well, he's traditionally an opener at the Melbourne Stars and he's batting in the middle in the IPL and international cricket as well. So it's not always the case you will come from the level below and automatically slot into the (same spot in) the Australian team.

"It's more about what positions become vacant and if we think they've got the talent to execute in that position, they'll get selected in that position. All around the world, T20 sides have conversations about finding finishing type players and they're not always readily available, so you've got to start your career (batting in the middle) at some point in time. That's always going to be an ongoing discussion."

McDonald said that the leading BBL players will have to adjust to new roles at the international level. "Whether you like it or not, a lot of the (BBL) teams are going to use their best resources at positions one, two, three and four because they're there to win games at that level. You don’t blame them for batting them there.

"Would it be nice to have players batting in the middle order? Of course it would. But Big Bash teams are there to win it and you want your strength at the top. In the IPL, we've seen some exposure for our players through the middle order, which has been great. It's not really controllable for us, the only thing that's controllable for us is where we pick our players and what order they roll out in.

"There are guys who will automatically shuffle back into this side who are back home. That may lend itself to a guy getting five opportunities and then not being in the side when personnel come back. It's more just knowing where you want to expose players on the long term journey, and making sure you get that right.

"If you grow a player in that role, then when you have a full-time spot come up, can that player fill it? It's about exposing what you can potentially do with your middle-order players for the long term."

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Australia Tour of West Indies, 2021AustraliaAndrew McDonald

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