Australia's contingent has landed in Saint Lucia, with a five-match T20I series on the itinerary before three ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs in Barbados.
Aaron Finch leads a new-look squad on the tour, though declares that even with changes to his side and plans to experiment, winning as many matches as possible will be the best thing to carry momentum through to the T20 World Cup in October.
“We’re obviously wanting to win every game that we play, every series that we play, so that’s first and foremost our absolute priority," Finch told the press upon arrival in Saint Lucia.
Aaron Finch has indicated that the player performances on Australia’s upcoming tours of West Indies and Bangladesh will be crucial in deciding their squad for the ICC Men’s @T20WorldCup.— ICC (@ICC) June 25, 2021
“If there’s a chance to gather some information along the way, and maybe guys getting more of an opportunity, then we’ll take it as it comes.”
Australia are yet to taste Men's T20 World Cup victory, with their runner-up finish at 2010's tournament the closest the side have come to filling the void in the trophy cabinet.
Finch's Australian team in the format has usually comprised of six specialist batters and five bowlers, though the skipper admits the nature of the Saint Lucia surface and the absence of all-rounder Glenn Maxwell force him to experiment with his tactics.
“That was a model that had worked very well for us (in Australia). It worked well for us in South Africa as well, having six batters and five specialist bowlers and not deviating. I think the only time is when Maxy’s chipped in with a couple of overs when the conditions and the match-ups have suited.”
Having played in UAE quite a bit over the last four or five years I think that we’ll be okay in terms of how our plan has gone, compared to if the T20 World Cup was in India.
“I think in conditions like this (in Saint Lucia) where we expect the wickets to be a bit slower, and again playing five games at the same venue, we expect that they’ll start turning a little bit more. We’ve seen that already in the South Africa/West Indies series.”
Twenty players have made the trip for the tour, as the side attempt to build depth and improve its overall flexibility. Finch believes the preparation both in the Caribbean and on their Bangladesh tour in August will be crucial for their major tournament aspirations.
“It’s a chance to tinker with that and give ourselves some more options up our sleeve when we’re planning the T20 World Cup squad and looking forward a little bit to that, just trying to get more information and not being hamstrung I guess by just playing one style of cricket the whole time.”
On the World Cup moving to UAE and Oman, Finch believes most of their original strategy of playing in India should translate well in the new conditions.
“Having played there (UAE) quite a bit over the last four or five years I think that we’ll be okay in terms of how our plan has gone, compared to if it was in India.
“We expect the wickets to be pretty similar: little bit of turn, and probably turning more and slowing up as the tournament goes on.”
After the World Cup, Australia are set to host a home Test match against Afghanistan and an Ashes series against England, though Finch reiterated that Australia intends to play their strongest sides despite the packed schedule.
“It (the T20 World Cup) is the one bit of silverware that’s eluded us in our time and anyone who is available and is selected, there’ll be no management for Test cricket.”
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