Captain Aaron Finch has declared he will be ready for Australia’s Twenty20 World Cup warm-up games as the team’s cluttered preparation for the tournament slowly takes shape.
The bulk of Australia’s squad completed its six-day quarantine on Thursday, but with Josh Hazlewood still on duty in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pat Cummins a late arrival after the birth of his first child it will still be some days before they can train as a full team.
The underwhelming form and lack of matchplay for batting stars David Warner and Steve Smith have also been problems.
But one issue the team has clarity on is the fitness of the skipper, who is well ahead of schedule in his recovery from knee surgery in July. Finch is expecting to lead the team in its warm-up games against New Zealand and India on Monday and Wednesday respectively before their tournament opener on Saturday week.
“Originally it was touch and go to be available for the two warm up games but at the moment it looks like there’ll be no problems so looking forward to getting out and back into it,” Finch said on Thursday night.
Finch will partner Warner at the top of the order, but the No.3 position is up for grabs between Mitchell, Marsh and Smith.
On reputation, Smith would get the nod, but Marsh turned in a compelling audition in the Caribbean and Bangladesh. There is, however, an argument Marsh is a better fit than Smith in the middle order, where he has had success for Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash.
Matthew Wade will get first crack with the gloves, Finch confirmed, despite the wicketkeeper’s patchy record batting lower down the order and understudy Josh Inglis’s strong form in that role at domestic level.