Swashbuckling batsman Glenn Maxwell has opined that the Australian team selected for the T20 World Cup will benefit from playing the second leg of the IPL in the UAE. That's because the quadrennial event will also be played in the country.
Speaking to icc.cricket.com, Glenn Maxwell reckoned that playing in the cash-rich league in the UAE would serve as ideal preparation for Australia ahead of the World Cup.
Maxwell, who'll play for Virat Kohli's RCB in the upcoming IPL, said:
"The fact we’ve got a lot of guys going over for the IPL as a preparation, get a few games in those conditions, it’s going to do wonders for our batters. Our bowlers are going to be up and firing by the time the tournament starts. I can assure you everyone is looking forward to hitting the ground running over there.”
Apart from Maxwell, several other key members of Australia's T20 WC squad will feature in the second phase of the IPL. They include David Warner (SunRisers Hyderabad), Steve Smith (Delhi Capitals), Josh Hazlewood (Chennai Super Kings), Marcus Stoinis (Delhi Capitals) .
The T20 World Cup was originally supposed to take place in India. But it was eventually shifted to the UAE and Oman due to the second wave of COVID-19 hitting the country.
Maxwell believes the change in venue and international players playing in the IPL before the World Cup has probably "levelled the playing field". Maxwell said:
“The tournament being in UAE probably levels the playing field a little bit. Probably makes it a little bit easier for there not to be as much of a home ground advantage. For the IPL to be there to have a lot of international players that are potentially going to be in that World Cup over there playing, I think it has probably levelled the playing field a fair bit.”
Australia haven't had the best of times in T20I cricket in the past one year. The Aaron Finch-led unit will come into the marquee event on the back of five consecutive bilateral T20I series defeats.
However, Australia were without most of their first-choice players during their last two series defeats - 1-4 vs West Indies and 0-5 vs Bangladesh. But with all of them available for the World Cup, Australia could prove to be a tough nut to crack.
As Maxwell stated, the squad is full of match-winners. But in such a short tournament, the key for them will be to hit the ground running right from the outset. Maxwell added:
"You look through our line-up, we’ve got a team full of match winners and guys that on their day can take the game away from the opposition. I think that’s what it’s going to take. Any day when it’s one of our players’ chance to go and win us a game – if we can take that (chance), it’s going to be hard for anyone to stop us.”
"The key for us to win a T20 World Cup this year is to get off to a fast start,” he said. “Teams that can get off to a good start early in the tournament, get a couple of players on fire, get a couple of batters in good form, and get a couple of bowlers taking early wickets, that is the key to a lot of teams winning these tournaments.”
Australia are in Group 1 with defending champions West Indies, and former champions England and South Africa. Australia will open their campaign against the Proteas in Abu Dhabi on October 23.