Colombo. Team profiles and squad lists of Group B rivals Australia, West Indies and Ireland ahead of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, which starts on Tuesday:
Captain: George Bailey. Coach: Mickey Arthur
For such a highly successful cricket nation, Australia’s modest Twenty20 record is a blemish. They have won four 50-over World Cups but their best finish in three previous World Twenty20 tournaments was as runner-up to England in 2010. When the International Cricket Council ratings were updated last month, Australia were ranked ninth, below New Zealand and Bangladesh.
George Bailey leads the Twenty20 squad to Sri Lanka looking to win the only major title that has eluded Australia. Desperate situations call for desperate measures and 41-year-old left-armer Brad Hogg has been brought in to bolster the spin attack.
If Hogg will be the oldest player in the competition, 19-year-old fast bowler Pat Cummins will be one of the youngest. Cummins, Clint McKay, Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Starc will form the pace attack with support from all-rounders Daniel Christian and Shane Watson.
The hard-hitting Cameron White has also been brought back in a middle-order that includes the Hussey brothers, David and Michael, while David Warner is expected to provide an aggressive start.
Australia squad: George Bailey (capt), David Warner, Shane Watson, Matthew Wade, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Cameron White, Daniel Christian, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Hogg, Xavier Doherty, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Ben Hilfenhaus.
Captain: Darren Sammy. Coach: Ottis Gibson
The best performance by the West Indies in the three previous editions of World Twenty20 came in England in 2009, when they reached the semi-finals. But no rival will take the West Indies lightly in Sri Lanka due to what many refer to as the “Indian Premier League (IPL) effect.”
The IPL has thrown up several match-winners from the Caribbean in the shortest format of the game. Any side that possesses explosive batsmen such as Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard, backed by solid all-rounders in Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Andre Russell, and a superb spinner in Sunil Narine, can never be counted out.
Attacking cricket, the hallmark of the West Indies game, is ideally suited to the Twenty20 version. And with conditions in Sri Lanka — slow, batsmen-oriented wickets — similar to those in the IPL, the West Indies will not find it tough to adjust. Darren Sammy’s men are capable of springing a few surprises.
West Indies squad: Darren Sammy (capt), Dwayne Bravo, Samuel Badree, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Fidel Edwards, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.
Captain: William Porterfield. Coach: Phil Simmons
Ireland, with two former Test players in their backroom staff now that ex-Australia paceman Craig McDermott has joined West Indian coach Phil Simmons, will be in search of fresh giant-killing success to match their one-day international exploits.
Their squad has plenty of subcontinental experience, with Kevin O’Brien having compiled the fastest-ever hundred in the 50-over World Cup during Ireland’s stunning win over England in Bangalore last year.
William Porterfield, the captain and one of several county cricketers in the squad, will aim to lead from the front with the bat, as newcomer Tim Murtagh looks to bolster a seam attack featuring Australia-born veteran Trent Johnston.
Much will be expected of talented Somerset left-arm spinner George Dockrell, 20, on Sri Lankan pitches renowned for taking turn.
Ireland squad: William Porterfield (capt), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, Ed Joyce, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Max Sorensen, Stuart Thompson, Andrew White, Gary Wilson.