Cricket: World Cup Pillars and Depth Pieces
By Aaron Callaghan
The Australian Cricket team has completed a one day international series win in India after fighting back from two-nil down.
Given the dominating finish to the series Australia have firmed in world cup calculations. If you backed Australia to win the world cup it is premature to stand in line ready to collect.
Throughout the series the Australian team received positive contributions from key positions in the eleven at various stages, a great all round winning effort, in stark contrast to recent memory where the team has relied on individual contributions to bail the team out, for example Steve Smith scoring runs or Pat Cummins taking wickets and top scoring. The key take away from this Indian tour is that Australia’s one day team has depth in the greater squad combined with key pillars to build around.
Aaron Finch is an all time divisive player, either you like him as an opener or late order red ball stroke maker or you despise his game and the fact that he wears and Australian captain arm-band is an insult to your very existence made worse by the fact that he owns a baggy green. For the record, I am a Finch stan, his test match appearances opening against India were undoubtedly a selection mistake, selecting Finch against the new red ball is setting Aaron up for failure, his technique is far more suited to batting six as a stroke maker and in white ball cricket, I think many commentators are crippled by recency bias, a look at the numbers confirms this in 104 one day internationals Finch is averaging 36.37 with 11 centuries. All players get down on form from time to time. Show patience and stick with Finch.
It is time to look at who are the key pillars and how they can set the table for Australia to win the 2019 world cup. Here are some honourable mentions which add to the teams depth and selection options in Stoinis, Turner, Lyon, Marsh brothers, Richardson and Behrendorff. A team pillar is defined as a player that starts every game and you endure the failures knowing that a golden run of form is around the corner.
Pillar One: Usman Khawaja is a classy batsman and can pile on runs using conventional cricket shots at the top of the order. Looks to be in great form after being out of sorts through out the Australian summer.
Pillar Two: Aaron FInch as above - A class batsman in the middle of a bad run and suffering from the condemnation of the sporting pundits on social media. Finch will be fine.
Pillar Two: Peter Handscomb - the man with combs for hands like Khawaja plays traditional cricket shots and ticks the score over. Handscomb is obviously earmarked by selectors as a long term fixture in Australia's ODI middle order and looks at home in white ball cricket.
Pillar Three: Glenn Maxwell can bat anywhere in the batting line up, bowls handy darts and is an A+ fielder. If you tipped ingredients into a test tube to create the perfect white ball player you'd get Glenn Maxwell. Here's a thought pick him in the test team.
Pillar Four and Five: David Warner and Steve Smith - Goes without saying they BOTH come back into the team.
Pillar Six: Pat Cummins is an absolute superstar. One of the first picked. Cummins bowled extremely well on Indian's batting roads.
Pillar Seven: Mitch Starc whilst out of sorts has been a game winner for Australia and a proven world Cup winner. Starc looked better against Sri Lanka, although I could have gotten wickets versus Sri Lanka but I digress.
Can Australia win this years world Cup in England? I still have India and England as the favourites, Australia and South Africa in the second tier with New Zealand as a smokey.