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Can Australia Defy the Doubters to Compete for the World T20 Crown?

Australia was dealt a 4-1 hammering at the hands of Bangladesh in preparation for the World T20, putting pressure on the Baggy Greens ahead of the tournament. Justin Langer's men were no match for the Tigers, who were dominant in both disciplines and secured a victory over the Aussies on home soil.

Australia was not at full strength, but there were still enough familiar names in the ranks to at least compete with Bangladesh. However, in the majority of the contests, HowStat's statistics show that the Aussies were blown away by the quality of the hosts. In Australia's one victory, it took special efforts from Dan Christian and Ashton Agar to guide them over the line.

The Baggy Greens have not been successful in the T20 format since its inception in 2007. They did reach the World T20 final in 2010, only to be hammered by England in the process. They also reached the semi-finals in 2012, but in the last two competitions, they have been eliminated in the Super 10 stage.

With two tournaments being played back-to-back in 2021 and 2022 and the latter being hosted in Australia, Langer and his team have a great opportunity to end their struggles in the format. By the looks of their recent form, it will take a major turnaround. But there is still a lot of quality in their squad with an abundance of experience, so is there still hope?

Can Bowlers Win The Day For Aussies?

Australia will enter the 2021 World T20 in sixth place according to the ICC World Rankings, well below England, India, Pakistan, and New Zealand in the top four spots. The Baggy Greens have fallen well behind their rivals, who are taking cricket to the next level in the format. Despite their recent issues, Australia is still backed in the cricket odds provided by Betway at 7.00 to win the World T20 as of September 2nd. There are solid reasons for the bookies' belief in the Aussies.

Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood were either rested for the Bangladesh tour or played a limited role. The pace trio at the peak of their powers is arguably the best in the world. The problem has been getting all three bowlers fit and firing at the same time. Cummins became the most expensive overseas player in history of the IPL in 2020 when he was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders. Hazlewood and Starc have not been overly active in the IPL of late, their records at the international level speak of themselves.

The issue for Australia will be their ability to shine in the United Arab Emirates and Oman for the tournament in 2021. Conditions will not be in their favour, and the issue will be their reliance on their spinners and batsmen, who did not come to the fore in Bangladesh. Therefore, Australia might have to wait for the 2022 World T20 in home conditions to benefit from their pace attack.

Squad Struggles

Australia used nearly all of their spinning options in Bangladesh, but they failed to make a decisive impact, which does not bode well for the World T20. Mitchell Swepson, Adam Zampa, and Ashton Agar were all deployed by Langer and company, but they could not turn the tide in the favour of the Baggy Greens. Swepson had his moments, but the experienced duo of Agar and Zampa was largely underwhelming. Both were included in the squad for the World T20, and Langer will be hopeful that his spinners can rise to the occasion in advantageous conditions.

Howstat.com shows that they didn't send their premier batsmen to Bangladesh for the tour. Steve Smith, David Warner, and skipper Aaron Finch were all absent. Smith has not been outstanding in the T20 format compared to his exploits in the Test match arena. Even Warner and Finch have been underperforming of late, and are not quite the explosive greats they once were at the top of the order.

Compared to other sides in the world, The Guardian labelled Australia's batting line-up as not overly dynamic. Joe Root cannot even get into England's T20 side given the competition for places. Josh Inglis has been added, following his outstanding campaign in the Vitality Blast for Leicestershire and London Spirit in The Hundred. However, other than Inglis, there are not many new faces.

The Baggy Greens are going down the route of the tried and tested batsmen, although it has not brought them success thus far. They're in dire need of new blood, with even Marnus Labuschagne not being selected in the squad. Langer and the selectors have to change their approach to move with the times. Otherwise, the Aussies can forget about competing in 2022.