T20 World Cup 2022: 3 reasons why Australia may not defend their title

Steve Smith
Steve Smith's (L) role and Glenn Maxwell's form are some of the issues Australia need to address. (P.C.:Twitter)

Australia, on paper, look arguably one of the strongest sides in the T20 World Cup on all fronts. Explosive batting, world-class bowling, top-notch fielding - one may feel that this squad ticks every box.

However, things haven't been great for the hosts ahead of their tournament opener against New Zealand. They lost the T20I series against India 2-1 and although they beat the West Indies at home, it was the rain in Canberra that probably saved Australia from a 3-0 whitewash at the hands of England.

Many may argue that form doesn't matter since the defending champions were whitewashed by Bangladesh 5-0 before last year's T20 World Cup. However, no team has been able to defend their crown so far in this format and there are some issues that the hosts need to address.

On that note, let's take a look at three reasons why Australia may not be able to with their second consecutive T20 World Cup:

#3 Uncertain middle-order

Steve Smith's test exploits singlehandedly earning him a spot in a T20I XI, embarrassing to say the least. Will Stoinis get a spot in the test team because he performs for AUS in T20s? Absolutely hate test merchants like Smith, Stokes playing this T20 world cup 😑

Mitchell Marsh's rise at No.3 was one of the breakout stories of last year's T20 World Cup. The all-rounder also won the Player of the Match in the final and has certainly nailed down that spot in this year's showpiece event too.

The likes of Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis are also likely to make it to the XI as they together cover the fifth bowler's quota. Matthew Wade continues to be one of the best finishers in the world, making that role his very own.

This leaves just one spot between veteran Steve Smith and the belligerent Tim David. While many feel Smith is not an ideal T20 batter, some feel he is still important in the middle-order as he can anchor the innings and provide some steel.

Australia might look a strong side on paper but they badly need Steve Smith in the XI. He might be not be in his best form, but he is yet the best in the art of Anchoring #AUSvENG #SteveSmith

However, Australia wouldn't want to drop David either, as the power-hitter has already shown what he is capable of, playing a few handy cameos already. The hosts will need to decide whether they want Smith's experience or David's X-factor and their roles and entry-points need to be well-defined

#2 Questions on death bowling

Cummins is excellent bowler in Test & ODIs. He ain't nailed on bowler in T20. Cummins can pick wicket or two in PP & bowl tightly upfront. But the likes of Richardson & Ellis are more solid bowlers with lot of options. Perfectly fit for T20.

Pat Cummins was one of the unsung heroes of Australia's win over Pakistan in the semifinals and New Zealand in the final in the previous edition. He bowled some crucial overs at the death and didn't let the opposition get away with extra runs.

However, the same isn't the case when you look at his overall numbers this year in T20Is. Cummins has bowled seven overs at the death at an economy rate of 11.42. Both he and Mitchell Starc bowl better with the new ball and so Australia are probably left with Josh Hazlewood as the only reliable option at the death.

The hosts have sometimes needed Marcus Stoinis to bowl at the death too, something which could prove to be very risky in a crunch knockout game. They could try Kane Richardson if they want to, but may regret not picking a death-bowling specialist like Nathan Ellis in the squad.

#1 Glenn Maxwell's form

Glenn Maxwell's most recent scores in T20Is:1 (3)0 (1)6 (11)0 (3)1 (4)8 (11)8 (9)#AUSvENG

Arguably the biggest concern for Australia has to be Glenn Maxwell's woeful form of late. While there are a number of power-hitters like David Warner, Marsh, Stoinis, David, and Wade, one may argue that Maxwell is arguably their most dangerous player.

The No.4 position is crucial in T20Is and the Aussies have given Maxwell the responsibility to play some impactful knocks, something which hasn't happened of late. In 15 matches this year, Maxwell has scored just 197 runs at a woeful average of 15.15.

He looks like a shadow of himself. The intimidation factor that world cricket associates with Maxwell's presence at the crease seems to be missing. Australia will hope that Maxwell turns a corner and delivers in the T20 World Cup. If that doesn't happen, the hosts could be in big trouble.

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Edited by Puranjay
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