Matthew Wade is backing Australia’s surprise strong suit to come to the fore as the side chase their first ever ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Trophy.
A team historically famous for its powerful batsmen and fierce fast bowlers, it’s Australia’s spinners who have thrived for the team of late, with Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar fixtures in the top 10 of the ICC’s T20I bowling rankings since 2019.
Alongside Zampa and Agar, Australia will also have the services of all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Turner, and that is spin bowling quality Wade says bodes well for the team going into a T20 World Cup campaign in Asia.
“I think our spin bowling has always (been) one thing that we’ve been looking for and I think now in our current T20 team it is something that is definitely our strength with Zampa and Agar," Wade said.
“It’s probably something that you wouldn’t say Australia have had as a strength over the last 10 years in white ball formats but I think the experience those guys have got over the last two or three years - that is certainly a strength going forward for our team and they’ll play a huge part in us going deep into that tournament.”
Zampa has been Australia’s top T20I wicket-taker since the last T20 World Cup, with Agar not far behind.
Their development has added to what Alex Carey believes is a well-rounded and balanced group.
“Australia has got a really good balance from the batters, the fast bowlers and our spinners as well,” Carey said. “It has been great to see Zamps (Zampa) and Agar dominating with the spin. We know how dominant our top order is with Finch, Warner, Smith, Maxwell.
“Then the fast bowlers, you’re seeing how good Starc is going at the moment, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins. It’s just a really good balance I think across the whole team and squad.”
Mitchell Marsh also teased at a new variation from Zampa.
“Adam Zampa has got a new ball that he has been working on which I imagine he will probably bring out in the World Cup. It has got a pretty cool name as well so look out for that one," Marsh said.
While Australia has won multiple Men’s and Women’s Cricket World Cups and five Women’s T20 World Cups, they are still chasing their first Men’s T20 silverware.
But Wade believes the time is now for them to fill the lone hole in their trophy cabinet.
“As a team, we all know that is the one World Cup that Australia haven’t won so it’ll be really nice to grab that trophy,” Wade said. “I think we’re ready to do it. We’ve got some good youth, some good experience, (we're) starting to get games into some players that we probably haven’t done for a long time now, so it’s going to be a really exciting opportunity for us.”
Wade led Australia on their tour of Bangladesh, with regular captain Aaron Finch out injured. Alongside Finch, Australia was also without David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Pat Cummins as they lost 4-1 to Bangladesh. Finch aside, the entirety of that group also missed Australia’s 4-1 loss to the West Indies.
While results have been lean of late, Wade believes it has allowed the side to build the depth it requires to challenge for a World Cup.
“The guys that are going to come back in are some of the stars of the game with Smith and Warner and Glenn Maxwell, who is really dynamic for us in the middle order, he plays as a left-hander and a right-hander against the spin,” he said.
“But then also the opportunity guys like Mitch Marsh have got on this tour, and Ashton Turner to get more experience, the depth of our squad is something you need in a World Cup and something that we’re really starting to get – 15 players that could come in and play a role at any time.”
If Australia do go on to win, they will be the sixth team across just seven Men's T20 World Cups to claim the trophy.
They begin their tournament on 23 October against South Africa.