Australia captain says time spent together in recent times has given his team members a chance to understand each other better
If Australia found itself ranked No. 10 on the ICC T20 ranking charts not so long back, it was because of its grave inconsistencies in the Twenty20 format.
At its best, Australia can annihilate anyone, as it did India on Friday night at the ICC World Twenty20 2012. However, it can also quickly traverse the spectrum. It was, therefore, no surprise to hear George Bailey, the Australian captain, say that he was pleased at how consistent his side had been over the first three matches of this tournament.
“I am not sure if this show (against India) will send tremors through the rest of the field,” said Bailey ahead of Sunday’s clash with South Africa. “It was a great win in terms of just where it sets us up in the tournament. It puts South Africa under pressure because they know that they need to win their next games. We have that buffer. But having said that, I don’t think we will get any easy games in this competition. The pleasing thing for us is that we continue to improve on our first two games and particularly some of the things that came out of that West Indies game, for us to nail the things we talked about, that was the most pleasing thing. If we keep continuing to play as consistently as we have done, I can see us making it hard for other teams.”
“I don’t think our approach will change much for the next game. Our situation hasn’t changed, we still need to win. You need to win two out of three in the Super Eights, so the pressure that we have is basically internal,” said Bailey. “The challenge we set at the start of the tournament was basically to be consistent. Our best cricket is very, very good. The challenge in Twenty20 cricket is what comes on the other side of that and I guess the gap between our best cricket and our worst cricket has been huge.”
Australia spent a couple of weeks in the United Arab Emirates, playing one One-Day International against Afghanistan, and three ODIs and as many T20Is against Pakistan. Bailey said that trip had gone a long way towards fostering togetherness. “One of the biggest challenges we have had in Australia is we haven’t been able to spend much time together as a group as we tend to swap our team around a lot,” said Bailey. “Now, we have been very consistent in terms of the side we have put out, the structures we have, in terms of where the guys are playing. As far as nutting out the roles that we have within the team and knowing where they fit, where their team-mates fit, what they are going to be doing in any part of the game, that to me is the most crucial thing. As a group, those games were really important to us.”
The Australians used pace as the battering ram against India but Bailey said the team might have to revisit its plans against South Africa. “South Africa has an absolutely outstanding team. You go through it and I don’t think there is any real weakness there for us to feed. It’s an interesting game in the way the two teams set up and how they play will be quite similar. We will have to address that, go away and see who does play the pull shot well and who doesn’t and where they do like to score,” said Bailey.
“For me, the pleasing thing about the way we played tonight was there was real versatility. When we did use it, we were pretty smart about it. But whether they pull or hook or not, if the bowler and particularly with some of the guys that we have got with a bit of pace, if they are bowling bouncers on the money, it is still going to be a pretty hard ball to get away.”