Mike Hussey confident for Aussies, IPL, form, Glenn Maxwell

If form counts for anything at the World Cup, then you might be awfully worried about Australia’s chances this year.

The nation’s record in the T20 format since the coronavirus outbreak makes for ugly reading.

Australia has played 21 T20Is and won just six times; a win-loss ratio of just 0.4. By comparison, England’s ratio in the same period is 2.4, New Zealand’s 2.0 and Pakistan’s 1.9.

Furthermore, Australia hasn’t won a bilateral T20 series since February 2020, losing against England, India, New Zealand, West Indies and Bangladesh consecutively.

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And yet, Mike Hussey is confident that Australia — now ranked seventh in the world — will be a major threat in the UAE.

“I’m actually pretty optimistic about Australia’s chances,” the Australia great told foxsports.com.au this week ahead of the tournament opener on Sunday (9pm).

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“I think we’ve got a really good team, a dangerous team.

“If they can get their confidence up, adapt well to the conditions, then I think it’s a pretty darn good team. Hopefully they can get on a roll…”

Hussey noted that Australia’s poor run in the format was extended in the middle of the year with the majority of its best players out of action.

During losing tours of the Caribbean and Bangladesh, Australia was without David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Kane Richardson and Pat Cummins, who are all in its World Cup squad.

Even when Australia narrowly went down 3-2 to New Zealand in March, Warner, Smith, Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood weren’t involved.

As such, it’s hard to gauge where Australia’s ability truly lies in T20 cricket — but seventh in the world is surely not a fair reflection.

Hussey believes Australia has a “well-rounded” side at this year’s tournament. It’s hard to disagree.

Finch and Warner are firmly among the world’s best white ball openers, averaging 37.46 and 31.45 in T20Is respectively. They’re expected to be followed by the clean-hitting Mitch Marsh, easily Australia’s best batsman in 2021, and the freakish Smith in an anchor role.

In the middle-order is the versatile and powerful Marcus Stoinis, while Glenn Maxwell — on his day — is one of the best x-factors a team could ask for.

Australia's Glenn Maxwell found form in the IPL.
Australia’s Glenn Maxwell found form in the IPL.Source: News Corp Australia

With the ball, Ashton Agar’s emergence as a genuine wicket-taking option has added extra bite to his ever-improving spin partnership with Adam Zampa. Meanwhile, the fast-bowling depth that Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood bring speaks for itself.

The only genuine concerns are the batting form of first choice wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, who averaged 12.90 against the West Indies and Bangladesh, and the presence of a world class finisher.

Even so, Australia is a team that bats deep and has plenty of firepower to finish the job.

Unlocking that firepower will be key for Australia, with swiftly adapting to conditions and finding confidence against spin bowling the main focus for its batters.

Hussey said that players, such as Maxwell, featuring in this year’s IPL in the UAE will help that process.

“I think Australia, if they can start well and adapt to those conditions in the UAE — thankfully we’ve got a few guys playing in the IPL and so that’s a big bonus,” he said.

Speaking of Maxwell, he added: “He’s been great to watch. He’s been on fire.

“He’s been confident and the good thing is it’s in those conditions in the UAE (he has performed). So hopefully he can carry his IPL form into the World cup because he’s going to be a critical member of the team.

“It’s a tough role to play there in the middle order in T20 cricket so if you’ve got someone who’s in top form and on top of their game then we’ve seen he can be a match-winner on his own.”

Maxwell heads into the World Cup off the back of one of his most successful IPL campaigns, making 513 runs at 42.75 with a strike rate of 144.10.

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