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Is the grass Green-er on the other side for Australia?

Australia v England - T20I Series: Game 1
Australia need to take the bold approach and include Cameron Green into this lineup.

With less than a month to go before the T20 World Cup, the Australian team toured India for a three-match T20I series. Tim David's inclusion alongside Cameron Green at the top of the order was one of the major talking points for the defending T20 World champions from that series.

Green grabbed his opportunity with both hands, recording two half-centuries in three games, with Tim David nailing his place in the side as well.

Almost instantly, there was a sense of inevitability around their selection in the T20 World Cup squad. The team management included Tim David in the squad but continued to play keeps before eventually drafting Green in as a replacement for the injured Josh Inglis.

This, despite knowing that the move would mean Matthew Wade is the only wicketkeeper in the squad. Australia captain Aaron Finch, stated that his side is taking a risk by not including a backup wicketkeeper, but also added that Green brings more balance to their side.

So why take the risk? Because the upside with the all-rounder is fairly evident.

As fate would have it, Wade contracted COVID-19 and is now a major doubt for Australia's must-win game against arch-rivals England. As a result, the defending champions find themselves at a crossroads in the midst of the tournament, much like they did with Mitchell Marsh last year. We all remember what he did once he turned up, don't we?

The question still lingers around Cameron Green's inclusion in the starting XI. Former Australian captain Mark Waugh called out the selectors, stating that they have been too conservative in their selections. Much of that is based around the current captain's form.

Aaron Finch has been going through a torrid run with the bat this year. His retirement from the ODI format due to his poor form only put him further under the microscope. In home conditions this year, Finch has scored 220 runs in 12 matches at a strike rate of 95.23.

The tipping point, though, might have come in his team's second match of the T20 World Cup against Sri Lanka. Finch played a painstaking knock of 31 runs in 42 deliveries, on his way to recording the slowest innings by any batter in the T20 World Cup (minimum 30 runs scored) but was bailed out by Marcus Stoinis.

The captain himself termed his innings as unusual and poor but has since then played down any suggestions of his place in the side being under the scanner. Changing their captain mid tournament seems unlikely from an Australian point of view and that might remain to be the case.

If you are wondering, yes, there has been a case where a captain dropped himself mid-tournament due to a lack of form. Dinesh Chandimal did so at the T20 World Cup in 2014, with Lasith Malinga taking over the reigns. The decision worked out to be selfless and valuable as Sri Lanka went on to win the tournament.

However, one would not expect Finch to do the same. In fact, there is some merit in suggesting that his innings against Sri Lanka actually kept Australia in the game, as he played an anchor's role. If he is to play that role for the side, though, there's enough to validate a move down the order with Green moving to the top.

The all-rounder could be an invaluable asset at the top of the order to give Australia the fast starts they desire in the Powerplay. Especially since David Warner has also been on a lean run in the tournament thus far.

Keeping Green's form in mind, one would reckon it's time for Australia to strike the hammer while the iron is still hot. Even more so when it comes to a knockout game against arch-rivals at the MCG.

Aaron Finch at No. 4 is a viable option if Cameron Green has to start for Australia

Finch has a bit of experience in the middle order in T20Is. In the seven games he has played in that position, he scored 212 runs at an average of 152.21. Needless to say, his struggles against the new ball are a glaring issue to sort out for Australia but can be addressed with a small tweak by pushing him lower down the order.

The 35-year-old has played in the middle order twice this year. He slotted in at number four in the first T20I against the West Indies recently. Chasing a target of 146, he scored a crucial 58 off 53 deliveries to keep Australia in the game as they eventually got over the line.

Finch has enough pedigree and experience to slot into the middle order and be the player the other Australian batters can play around freely. It's not one of the most glamorous roles in T20 cricket at the moment but from a captain and team perspective, it's proving to be an important one nonetheless.

Unfortunately, Pat Cummins might have to be the one to make way for Cameron Green. As they say, T20 cricket holds no regard for reputation. Steve Smith is the shining example of that. Australia's Test captain simply hasn't been able to bring the same level of performance in the shortest format.

Cummins has taken 11 wickets in 11 matches at an economy rate of 8.78 in T20Is this year. His most productive phase is during the Powerplay where he has taken four wickets at an economy of 7.25.

However, the economy rate takes a hit for the worse as the innings progresses, conceding runs at 8.21 in the middle overs (with four wickets) and a staggering 12.10 at the death (with two wickets).

There is little doubt that Cummins is a bona-fide match-winner on his day, but as Finch stated earlier, Green adds more balance to their side. The all-rounder will not only inject some impetus at the top of the order but will also give the captain another bowling option.

Australia haven't had a player of that ilk since Shane Watson retired. Green isn't too dissimilar in that regard. With Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Stoinis, and Green, the captain will still have enough bowling options to make up for the four overs.

The defending champions have looked far from their best in the tournament thus far. The expectations are sky high for them to defend their title in home conditions but they are yet to click as a unit thus far.

From where we stand, the grass certainly looks greener on the other side for Australia. If that is indeed the case, they need to act quickly to make that change if they want to defend their crowd.

Poll : Should Cameron Green be included in Australia's playing eleven against England?

Yes

No

67 votes

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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