Champion batsman Mike Hussey has tipped Australia to take out the Gillette T20 international tri-series and named three danger players to look out for.
The tri-series involving Australia, England and New Zealand in the Antipodes starts on Saturday when David Warner’s side take on the Black Caps at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Warner leads a team missing its Test stars but still boasts a ballistic batting order featuring the likes of Aaron Finch, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, D’Arcy Short and Marcus Stoinis.
And it’s that explosive unit that has Hussey believing the Australians will take out the tournament.
"If that batting order gets some confidence they are going to be unstoppable," Hussey said on this week’s episode of The Unplayable Podcast.
"There’s going to be some massive, massive scores.
"I hope they go out there with that freedom to really go hard and back themselves to belt the bowling everywhere.
"If they come off consistently then I don’t know if there’s another batting order out there that can chase them down."
When asked to name a danger player to watch out for during the seven-match series, Hussey picked two hard-hitting batsmen and a wily leg-spinner.
Starting with the Australians, Hussey said he was excited by the prospect of Lynn returning to action in Australian colours but went with his skipper, who has a point to prove after a poor Gilette ODI series.
"It’s hard to go past Lynn but I’m actually going to go for David Warner," Hussey said.
"He'll be stung a little bit having had a disappointing one-day series, but he'll also be so excited about being captain of the team.
"I know he loves leading teams, he's led the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL and done a fantastic job there. And he's someone who really thrives on the leadership and leads from the front.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he's someone that has a very good series for Australia."
Hussey then turned his attention to New Zealand and Colin de Grandhomme, the powerful right-hander whose T20 strike rate is a whopping 168.40.
The 31-year-old made a blistering 74 from only 40 balls against Pakistan in an ODI in Hamilton last month, and Hussey expects to see those fireworks repeat in the shortest format.
"At the top, I’d say Martin Guptill is someone who is a very, very dangerous T20 player, but there’s another guy that has just caught my attention a little bit, de Grandhomme," said Hussey.
"He is an aggressive and clean hitter of the cricket ball. He doesn’t hold back against the spinners, he's happy to take them on and belt them over the fielders even if they’re fielding on the boundary.
"I watched him closely in a couple of games against Pakistan where he just destroyed them. He’s someone, given the right conditions and the right type of bowling, he could be very, very dangerous."
For his final selection, Hussey went away from the batters and chose leggie Adil Rashid as England’s most dangerous player.
Rashid was the leading wicket-taker in the preceding ODI series and has had T20 success in Australia when he took 16 wickets in nine games for Adelaide in BBL|05.
"The one that I like the most (for England) is Adil Rashid, the leg-spinner," he said.
"It’s showed in T20 cricket, leg-spinners in the Big Bash have done so well, as long as you’re a good one and there’s been some very good ones on show.
"They just have this knack of taking wickets and I think Rashid would have got a lot of confidence from the one-day series against Australia.
"He played well for the Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash a couple of years ago and is a key member of the England team."
Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
Australia squad: David Warner (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.
England squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler.
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets
Second T20I Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets
Third T20I Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets
Fourth T20I NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21