Changing conditions on wickets set to take a pounding at the T20 World Cup could make for some big selection calls.
Changing conditions at the T20 World Cup could demand significant team changes and the prospect every member of Australia’s 15-man squad could get a game.
Coach Justin Langer declared it was “extremely tough” to leave out spinner Ashton Agar, Australia’s highest-ranked T20 bowler in the world, for the opening win over South Africa.
Captain Aaron Finch said it was “brutally tough”.
It was a conditions and match-ups-based decision that came after Agar had played seven straight games, plus the two warm-up matches, bowling in tandem with fellow spinner Adam Zampa.
Game one hero Marcus Stoinis said there was “an argument for everyone to be in the team“ and fully expected that as wickets became tired across the three venues being used, change could be a must.
”There’s no easy answers and we’ll probably just see what happens as the tournament goes on. I think everyone’s going to get used in this tournament,” he said.
“With these conditions, we’ve got to adapt as we go. He (Agar) has got such a good record, has been so good for us, so I wouldn’t be counting anything out.”
Langer said Australia had to be flexible in selections depending on conditions, opposition and match-ups, which could give Kane Richardson, Mitchell Swepson and Josh Inglis game time through the remaining four pool games and potentially in the finals.
Australia used Glenn Maxwell as its second spinner, ahead of Agar, and while the fast bowlers took five wickets in the opening win over South Africa, spin could be huge in the back end of the tournament.
“They’re all tough (selection) decisions. There’s no doubt about that,” Langer said.
“We’ve said from day one to the players and we did it in the last World Cup and to a degree in the last Ashes in England, we’ll just look at the conditions, we’ll look at the opposition, we’ll look at the match-ups, and we’ll make the call that we think is right for the team.
“It doesn’t always work out that way, but with all the information we’ve got we’ll work through that.”
Langer said leaving out Agar was especially tough.
“I can’t emphasise enough how tough it was on Ashton Agar, his numbers are literally outstanding,” he said. “And really tough on Kane Richardson.
“It’s nice to have those selection headaches, but it worked OK yesterday (Sunday).”
Australia plays its next game against Sri Lanka on Thursday night in Dubai.