West Indies v Australia T20Is - Men's
Aussies touch down for Caribbean tour
Australia's T20 World Cup build-up takes next step as squad lands in St Lucia for West Indies tour that includes five T20s and three ODIs
Louis Cameron in St Lucia
29 June 2021, 10:38 AM AEST
Australia have arrived on the tiny tropical island of Saint Lucia for what will be the men's third overseas tour since the beginning of the pandemic.
The 18-player squad, plus travelling reserves Nathan Ellis and Tanveer Sangha, touched down on Monday afternoon (about 6am Tuesday AEST) following a 16-and-a-half-hour direct charter flight from Brisbane.
Players emerged from the enormous Qantas Dreamliner to crisp, sunny weather at Hewanorra International Airport before being whisked across to the island's capital, Castries.
A warm West Indian welcome to the Australian team as they touched down in beautiful St. Lucia earlier this afternoon! 🛬🌴@CricketAus and the #MenInMaroon will play 5️⃣T20Is at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground followed by 3️⃣ ODIs in Barbados! #WIvAUS pic.twitter.com/hHiL7rBlBN— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) June 28, 2021
The touring party will observe isolation protocols at their hotel before beginning training later this week ahead of the first of five T20 Internationals at the island's main stadium named after St Lucian star, former Hobart Hurricanes player Daren Sammy, from July 9.
The majority of the squad, plus non-tourists including Test captain Tim Paine, Glenn Maxwell and Kane Richardson, had assembled on the Gold Coast's Royal Pines resort over the weekend for a planning and strategy camp.
Some of Australia's top cricketers met up on the Gold Coast over the weekend to map out a big next 12 months, and the white-ball squad flies out to the West Indies today. A look at the middle-order issues facing Australia head of the #T20WorldCup: https://t.co/eGaBt8ytoT pic.twitter.com/GeVj4t95wW— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) June 27, 2021
Sydney-based players Sangha, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques and Dan Christian instead had to dial in via teleconference due to New South Wales' ongoing lockdown, though they were able to get travel exemptions to fly to Queensland on Monday morning and join the charter flight.
The entire T20 series against hosts West Indies will be played in St Lucia. The Aussies then play three ODIs in Barbados before, (pending confirmation) another five T20s against Bangladesh in Dhaka in August.
Australia are expected to field a fresh-faced side for the series, with Maxwell, Richardson, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Jhye Richardson and Daniel Sams all missing the tour for various reasons.
The visitors have included three spinners in their squad – Adam Zampa, Mitchell Swepson and Ashton Agar – and Finch has flagged the possibility of playing all three in St Lucia, which hosted two Tests earlier this month between the Windies and South Africa.
"Absolutely, we'll look at all that," Finch said last week. "St Lucia's had a lot of cricket on it recently.
"If you look at the scores, it's not a high-scoring ground, it's generally a bit slower and spins a little bit.
"So we'll look at those options once we get on the ground there on late Tuesday, and start to get a feel about what that looks like.
"It's also an opportunity for us to tinker around a little bit, and probably play a few different structures of team that will give us an opportunity to gather some more information leading into the World Cup."
While the team has not played on the volcanic island for more than nine years, Australian fans will recall Mike Hussey's famous 24-ball 60 that put Australia into the World T20 final in 2010.
It remains the only time they have made the final of that event, with the Aussies eager to end their T20 World Cup trophy drought when this year's edition gets underway in October.
"It'd be huge for Australian cricket, with it being the one that's eluded us for quite a while," Finch said.
"We've been in some really good positions with some really good teams and we just haven't quite clicked and got it right at the business end of the T20 World Cup.
"It's something we're all dreaming of."
Qantas Tour of the West Indies 2021
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Nathan Ellils, Tanveer Sangha.
West Indies T20 squad: Kieron Pollard (c), Nicholas Pooran (vc), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Kevin Sinclair, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr
T20 series (all matches at the Darren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia)
First T20: July 10, 9.30am AEST (July 9, 7.30pm local)
Second T20: July 11, 9.30am AEST (July 10, 7.30pm local)
Third T20: July 13, 9.30am AEST (July 12, 7.30pm local)
Fourth T20: July 15, 9.30am AEST (July 14, 7.30pm local)
Fifth T20: July 17, 9.30am AEST (July 16, 7.30pm local)
ODI series (all matches at Kensington Oval, Barbados)
First ODI (D/N): July 21, 4.30am AEST (July 20, 2.30pm local)
Second ODI (D/N): July 23, 4.30am AEST (July 22, 2.30pm local)
Third ODI (D/N): July 25, 4.30am AEST (July 24, 2.30pm local)
* Details of five-match T20 tour of Bangladesh are yet to be announced by the Bangladesh Cricket Board. Tours are subject to agreement on bio-security arrangements and relevant government approvals.