Australia coach Matthew Mott says now is the time for selectors to “pick and stick” to the players they believe can help the Southern Stars reclaim the title of T20 world champions.
Mott and the remainder of the national selection panel will meet early next week to determine the ODI and T20 squads for next month’s tour of India.
After plenty of players – both inside and outside the group who successfully retained the Ashes in November – put their hands up with strong Rebel WBBL campaigns, Mott knows it will be no easy task.
And with two World T20 tournaments to be played in the space of 14 months – in the Caribbean this November and in Australia in February 2020 – he’s eager to lock down a winning formula as soon as possible.
“It’s one of those selections where there’s so many ways we could go,” Mott told cricket.com.au. “There are a lot of players in form, so from a philosophical point of view it’s a question of ‘who do we see making the most impact over the next two years?’
“That’s something we’ve already discussed as a panel.
“There’s not a lot of downtime between the two World T20s, so now is almost time to pick and stick, we don’t want to be chopping and changing too much.”
Australia will play three ODIs against India before a T20 tri-series also featuring England. After that, the national squad will have to wait up to six months for their next international outing, making this subcontinent tour all the more crucial to Mott’s planning for the tournament in the Caribbean this November.
Australia won the ODI portion of the Women’s Ashes 2-1 and no major changes are expected to the 50-over squad aside from the potential inclusion of captain Meg Lanning, who is hopeful of making the trip after undergoing shoulder surgery.
But their recent record in 20-over cricket hasn’t been as strong, with their last win in a bilateral T20I series win coming against Ireland in mid-2015.
In recent years the two limited-overs squads have generally fielded similar line-ups, with Nicole Bolton notable for being one of the few Australian ODI specialists.
But Mott can see the squads becoming increasingly defined, particularly with the Rebel WBBL allowing more players to develop their T20 game and put their hands up for selection.
“I think that will naturally happen. We said in T20s, we haven’t got the results we like, but we know the style of play we want and we need to reflect in selections,” he said.
“We do see them as two different teams. More selections will be knife edge for both formats and that’s exciting as well.
“Players in T20s, particularly young players, can make an impact in the WBBL and see that translate into national selection. Going forward they’ll becoming more and more two separate teams.”
The biggest differences are likely to come in the form of allrounders and bowlers, given six Australian batters featured in the top seven run scorers for WBBL|03 – and that’s with Lanning sitting on the sidelines.
“Across the board a lot of our batters were in the top batters, so that’s good to see,” Mott said.
“Now it’s the bowlers who need to try and take that to the next level.
“There’s always areas we can tinker with and improve to get the best-balanced side out there and there are a number of allrounders out there putting their hands up which is good for versatility.”
Australia tour of India
Warm-up match v India A, BKC Ground, Mumbai, March 8
Warm-up match v India A, BKC Ground, Mumbai, March 6
First ODI Vadodara International Cricket Stadium, March 12
Second ODI Vadodara International Cricket Stadium, March 15
Third ODI Vadodara International Cricket Stadium, March 18
First T20I Australia v India, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, March 22
Second T20I Australia v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 23
Third T20I India v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 25
Fourth T20I Australia v India, Brabourne Stadium, March 26
Fifth T20I Australia v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 28
Sixth T20I India v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 29
Final Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, March 31