Ashes or T20 World Cup, Australia still in confusion

The Australian team is in a critical dilemma. They are confused about if they want to prioritize the upcoming T20 World Cup or The Ashes.

Debangshu Biswas
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The Australian cricket team have dominated the world of cricket since the game's introduction. However, in recent times they have fallen out of the folds of champions. Their recent series loss against Bangladesh is one of the most humiliating losses in their history. As the thing stands, Aussies are confused between what to prioritize - The Ashes or T20 World Cup.

The Ashes or the T20 World Cup?

The Ashes trophy | SportzPoint

The Ashes trophy

Image - Dhaka Tribune

The Ashes is one of the oldest rivalries in the game of cricket, featuring England and Australia. It is equally prestigious as a world cup if not more in Australia. However, in recent times with the hefty schedule that the players will face ahead of the Ashes, it has put the Australian cricket board in jeopardy. The players have to face IPL, then the T20 World Cup and then the Ashes. It will be a busy schedule for the players and the Cricket Australia are still not sure about whom to rest and whom to give a chance.

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If the Australian t20 team goes deep into the tournament then the players who are on the test side will miss the red ball cricket against Afghanistan due to quarantine issues. Only if they exit the tournament from the Super 12 stage they can compete in time but it comes with attached strings. To clarify, Afghanistan and England would also have to exit the tournament in the Super 12 stage.

"There seems to be a lot of moving parts with that at the moment. We are preparing that, all things being equal, that we'll have a full-strength Test squad to select from. If it happens that we get as deep into the T20 tournament as we'd like to and that looks challenging around quarantines and exemptions that will be required, then we'll deal with that at the time. If that's the case they'll be great opportunities for others."

National selector | George Bailey

Players who could benefit from the situation:

If Australia reaches at least the semi-finals in the upcoming T20 World Cup, many of the first team players will miss the only Red ball cricket they could have got ahead of the Ashes. That is to say, the first team members will miss the test against Afghanistan.

James Pattinson could benefit from the selection pool caused by the confusion between Ashes and T20 World Cup | SportzPoint

James Pattinson
Image - The Roar

Since the majority of Australia's Test bowling attack may not have much bowling before the ashes; It would open the possibility of the Test attack featuring the likes of James Pattinson, Jhye Richardson, and the uncapped Michael Neser. For someone like Richardson or Moises Henriques, missing out on the World Cup could actually improve their chance of making the Test side if they make the most of the Sheffield Shield matches available.

Also Read: Most Wickets in T20 cricket across all competitions

"From a player preparation perspective, and I've spoken particularly to our regular bowling Test group about this, it's not the first time they are planning to go into a Test series without perhaps any red-ball matches under their belt. It's a challenge but something they are aware of.

"They are highly experienced and skilled guys so we think they can do. We are in a world at the moment where we aren't dealing with ideals so if that's the case the players will make do and it certainly won't be an excuse for performance

National selector | George Bailey

The Steve Smith Situation:

The situation of Australian Batting ace Steve Smith ahead of the Ashes and the T20 World Cup | SportzPoint

Australian Batting ace | Steve Smith
Image - Cricket365

Smith, who is expected to return to the IPL with Delhi Capitals, faces the challenge of preparing for the Ashes. Meanwhile, he is continuing his recovery from an elbow injury. Bailey said he was progressing well but will still want to increase his volume over the coming months.

"The latest update from him is that he's facing 100 balls in a session pretty comfortably - that's about a quarter of what he'd like to be facing for a Test match so he's got a bit of building up to go there. We have to place some trust in Steve as someone who knows his body and knows exactly what he needs to be able to get out of himself to perform at the level that's required to play for Australia and the standards he set himself, which are fairly lofty."

National selector | George Bailey

The problems the England players will face going to the Ashes:

IND v ENG 2021: Joe Root and Ben Stokes take learnings from the series  defeat

England Test Team
Image - Circle of Cricket

Australia has put in strict quarantine rules for everyone arriving in the country. The English cricket team will travel to Australia in November for the first Ashes Test at the Gabba. However, they may not be accompanied by their families due to the Covid-19 protocols in Australia. Many cricket pundits have voted in favour of calling off the series. Not everyone is liking the idea that the players have to stay away from the family for four months.

Former players like Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen have raised their voices in favour of the players. Most of the players may find it difficult to stay away from the family for such an extended period. England's players will also be without their families for their tours of Bangladesh and Pakistan, beginning in September, before starting their T20 World Cup campaign in October.

However, the Ashes has a great deal of impact on Australian cricket including the financial factor. As a result, Cricket Australia will face a huge setback if the Ashes is cancelled. The board will try to do the necessary and make sure the Ashes takes place on time.

Cricket Australia Steve Smith