Green set for T20 World Cup sidelines despite earning Finch praise

By Sports Desk October 04, 2022

Captain Aaron Finch doubts Cameron Green can force his way into Australia's T20 World Cup squad, even if he dazzles in two warm-up games against West Indies this week.

Green was not included when Australia picked their 15-man group five weeks ago.

The impressive form of the 23-year-old since that selection has caught the eye, with two half-centuries in three innings against India last month showcasing his attacking talent.

Yet Finch sees his squad as being settled, with Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis on the way back to full fitness after respective ankle and side strain injuries.

Asked about Green's prospects of playing in the tournament, Finch said: "I'm not sure at the moment – I don't think so."

This is not to say Finch cannot see Green contributing immensely to Australia in the short and long term, but the World Cup decision has been taken.

"It's just one of those things," said Finch. "He had a really good tour of India, it was good for him to get an opportunity to open the batting, so he'll get more opportunities.

"He'll get an opportunity at some point in this series. The reason we've carried him is to have an extra bowling resource as well.

"Obviously his batting is exceptional, and he shows a lot with the ball. He keeps developing and he keeps improving every time he gets an opportunity."

David Warner and Mitchell Starc have returned to the Australia ranks after missing the short India series.

Australia have won two of their last three men's T20Is against West Indies (L1), including an eight-wicket victory in their most recent meeting last November.

Wednesday's series opener in Carrara will be the fourth men's T20I between the teams in Australia, and the first since West Indies won the last such game in February 2013, having been beaten in their previous two against the hosts.

Finch, Hazlewood, Cottrell closing on landmarks

There is a landmark for Finch to chase, since he is 85 away from becoming the sixth player to score 3,000 runs in men's T20I history and the first from Australia.

The skipper has struggled against the Windies, however, averaging 19.5 in eight previous T20I innings, with a high score of 53 against the Caribbean side.

West Indies have been pushed into a World Cup squad change after batter Shimron Hetmyer failed to make his intended flight, with Shamarh Brooks promoted to take his place.

Brooks is not yet in Australia, where the coming games will see a pace bowler from each side look to reach 50 wickets in T20I matches.

Australia's Josh Hazlewood is on 49, putting him one away from becoming the third Australian man to reach 50 wickets in the short format, after Adam Zampa and Mitchell Starc.

Wednesday's game will be Hazlewood's 34th T20I, and only three quicks have reached 50 wickets in fewer matches: Mark Adair, in 28 matches for Ireland; and Mustafizur Rahman, who reached the mark in 33 games for Bangladesh.

West Indies' Sheldon Cottrell has 48 wickets in the format to date, two short of becoming the fourth men's West Indies bowler to take 50, following Dwayne Bravo, Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine.

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    Midfielder Rodrigo De Paul believes Argentina are starting to "perform like the national team we are accustomed to" as they prepare for Saturday's World Cup last-16 showdown with Australia.

    Argentina arrived in Qatar as one of the tournament favourites only to be the victims of a stunning upset in their opening game, going down 2-1 to Saudi Arabia.

    Wins over Mexico and Poland have got their campaign back on track, and with a favourable draw ahead of them, De Paul was in bullish mood.

    "You always learn from defeats and we found ourselves in a position that was unusual," he said. "But we have shown a lot of character and personality.

    "We never changed what got us here. Sometimes it works well and sometimes it doesn't but in the second half against Mexico we began to see the national team we are accustomed to, and we showed that for the full 90 minute against Poland." 

     

    The Atletico Madrid man came in for criticism for his performance against the Saudis but says his love for the shirt is undimmed.

    "I am proud to wear the shirt of Argentina and I love the country where I was born," he added.

    "I will defend the shirt until I die and I will always give my all. Sometimes things go better or worse, but I will never hide. This is what brought me here."

    After finishing their game against Poland approaching midnight local time on Wednesday, Argentina will be back in action on Saturday evening against the Socceroos, a turnaround coach Lionel Scaloni described as "not right".

    And he may have to do without winger Angel Di Maria, who was substituted after 59 minutes against the Poles.

    "He felt something in his quadriceps and we preferred to take him off," said Scaloni. "Everyone knows how important he is, it's not worth leaving a player on the pitch who could make an injury worse."

    Argentina will go into the game as overwhelming favourites against an Australia side that defied expectations to emerge from a group that also contained France, Denmark and Tunisia.

    Socceroos defender Bailey Wright cut an emotional figure following their 1-0 win over the Danes with his mother-in-law seriously ill at home.

    "It means a lot, I want to dedicate this to my wife, for her mum. To be honest, I’m not sure if she’s still with us," he said through tears.

    "It’s been a really tough time back home but ultimately they made it possible for me to be here and to live one of my dreams. So I dedicate that to her. I hope she’s still with us.

    "It’s something I’ve kept to myself. We’ve all had a lot going on. [I've got a] job to do, got to be a professional all the time."

    Sunderland defender Wright came on in the 74th minute to make his World Cup debut and was tasked with helping preserve a narrow lead provided by Mathew Leckie's left-footed strike on the hour mark.

    "I knew Arnie [coach Graham Arnold] had in the back of his mind that he was potentially going to change things. It’s pretty special, it’s my second World Cup and to get on is special," he added.

    "Achieving what we’ve achieved with that performance and the rewards you’re seeing now are for the efforts of the last four years.

    "When we set out on this journey, Arnie said our togetherness would help us make history. The sacrifices staff and players have had to make, a lot of people wouldn’t have seen those – people isolating, being away from family for weeks, months.

    "There’s a lot of people who aren’t here who have put that work in, but you’ve always felt the sense of togetherness, that your mate has got your back, it’s 11 brothers out there, whoever comes on. It’s pretty special to be part of that. It’s hard to put into words, it’s a real feeling."
     

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Argentina - Alexis Mac Alister 

    Brighton playmaker Mac Allister was named man of the match in the win over Poland, primarily for his opening goal which settled Argentinian nerves.

    Having not started the opening game against Saudi Arabia, Mac Allister has played the last two and has profited from the space created by teams focusing their efforts on stopping Lionel Messi.

     


    Australia - Mathew Leckie

    Leckie scored his 14th goal for Australia in all competitions (first at the World Cup) against Denmark. His importance is demonstrated by the fact that's at least five more than any other player in the squad.


    PREDICTION

    Argentina's gradual improvement since their shocking second-half display against Saudi Arabia means they are finally performing like one of the pre-tournament favourites. Australia are hard-working, honest and determined but it's virtually impossible to think the Socceroos' journey won't end on Saturday.

    Stats Perform's AI model gives Graham Arnold's men just a five per cent chance of causing an upset with Argentina rated an 81.8 per cent chance. A draw is just a 13.2 per cent chance.

  • Bravo named Chennai Super Kings bowling coach after announcing IPL retirement Bravo named Chennai Super Kings bowling coach after announcing IPL retirement

    Dwayne Bravo has retired from the IPL as a player, and taken over a position as the bowling coach at Chennai Super Kings.

    "I'm looking forward to this new journey because it's something I see myself doing after my playing days is fully over," Bravo, 39, said in a franchise statement on Friday.

    "I enjoy working with bowlers, and it's a role I'm excited about. From player to coach, I don't think I have to adjust much, because while I'm playing, I always work with bowlers and try to come up with plans and ideas on how to have that one step ahead of the batsmen.

    "The only difference is I will no longer be standing at mid-on or mid-off! I never thought I would be the leading wicket taker in the history of IPL. But I'm just happy to be a part of IPL history!"

    Bravo has played the IPL every year since it started in 2008 except in 2017, when an injury prevented him from turning out for Gujarat Lions. He had first been signed up by Mumbai Indians in 2008, and was with the team for three seasons before being bought by Super Kings at the 2011 auction. When Super Kings were suspended for two seasons - 2016 and 2017 - Bravo was picked by Lions, before being retained by Super Kings in 2018.

    He finished with 183 wickets, the highest wicket-taker after 15 seasons of IPL, 13 more than the second-placed Lasith Malinga, and 17 more than the next active bowler with the most success: Yuzvendra Chahal. Bravo's wickets came at an economy rate of 8.38 over 158 innings in 161 games, with a best of 4 for 22. He also scored 1560 runs at a strike rate of 129.57.

    One of the great death bowlers in the T20 game, Bravo bowled 1115 balls [36% of all his deliveries] between overs 17 and 20 and took 102 wickets in the phase. No-one else has bowled as many deliveries in the last four overs (Jasprit Bumrah is next with 1026) or taken as many wickets (Lasith Malinga is second on 90).

    A part of West Indies' golden generation of T20 superstars, which won the T20 World Cup in 2012 and 2016, Bravo joins his long-time international team-mate into IPL retirement, while getting into coaching roles with their teams. Pollard announced his retirement as a player on November 15, and has joined Mumbai Indians, the team he was with throughout his career in the IPL, as a batting coach.

    Like Pollard, Bravo hasn't quit as a player altogether. He is currently playing in the Abu Dhabi T10 with Delhi Bulls and has also been signed up by MI Emirates for the inaugural ILT20 in the UAE next year, where Pollard will be his captain. He was one of eight players Super Kings released by the retention deadline last month. At the time, though, it seemed like they might buy him back at the next auction, scheduled for December 23, as they had in 2021.

    With Super Kings, the team he became an integral part of - synonymous almost - over the years, Bravo played 144 matches, picking up 168 wickets and scoring 1556 runs. He was involved in three of their four IPL triumphs - in 2011, 2018 and 2021; the only one he missed was in 2010, when he was still with Mumbai. While with Super Kings, he won the Purple Cap for the most wickets in 2013 (32 wickets) and 2015 (26 wickets). He remains one of two players - Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the other - to win the Purple Cap on two occasions.

    "He has been a crucial member of the Super Kings family for more than a decade, and we are excited to continue the association," Kasi Viswanathan, the Super Kings chief executive, said. "Bravo's vast experience will be of immense value to our players and support staff. We are confident that our bowling group will thrive under his guidance."

  • Argentina bring the best out of Australia, claims confident Arnold Argentina bring the best out of Australia, claims confident Arnold

    Graham Arnold believes his Australia side can deliver this World Cup's latest upset win when they face Lionel Messi's Argentina on Saturday.

    There have been no shortage of shocks at this tournament, with the Socceroos' Group D defeat of Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark among them.

    That victory set up a last-16 tie against Argentina, who were themselves on the wrong end of a surprise result when they lost their opening game to Saudi Arabia.

    Australia have enjoyed some success against La Albiceleste in the past, too. Coach Arnold was part of the only senior Socceroos team to beat Argentina back in 1988, although their Olympic team added another triumph last July.

    "I just think Argentina bring the best out of Australia," said Arnold on the eve of this latest meeting.

    "Our performances every time against Argentina have been very strong and very good, and we go into the game with a lot of belief and a lot of energy. We focus on ourselves and our job."

    Harry Souttar was perhaps Australia's standout performer of the group stage and added: "We've already surprised a few people with the results we've had, so we're looking to go and surprise a few more."

    Indeed, surprises are perhaps even more likely now in the knockout stage, as Arnold suggested.

    "The group games are past us now. It's a whole new ball game," he said. "It's a one-off game, and anything can happen in one-off games.

    "There's no disrespect to Argentina at all, but it's 11-v-11, it's 10 blue shirts against 10 yellow shirts, and it's a battle, it's a war. We've got to fight that."

    Regardless, Australia remain very much the "underdogs", but that tag suits Arnold, who dismissed the suggestion of any fatigue setting in.

    "Everyone's an underdog until you have success," he said. "Nearly everyone in the world at some stage in their life has been an underdog. It's until you have success that you're seen as [that].

    "Australia's the underdogs and we love that. We love having our backs to the walls and nobody giving us a chance and going out and fighting the Aussie spirit way. That's our strength."

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