PTI Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India
Feb 24, 2019, 09.08 AM
Australian captain Aaron Finch on Saturday said the limited overs series against India would give the youngsters a perfect opportunity to stake a claim for two World Cup spots with the suspended duo of Steve Smith and David Warner racing against time to recover from injuries.
The duo suffered similar elbow injuries while playing in the Bangladesh Premier League last month. Both had to undergo surgeries and it's not clear whether they would be fit in time for the World Cup beginning May 30.
"Definitely it's a great opportunity for the guys to come in and really challenge for that spot. David (Warner) obviously had some elbow surgery recently so that'll be in the back of the mind as well," Finch said on the eve of the opening T20 against India here.
"But if things don't go 100 per cent right with their rehab or some complications with it and they're not back in time, it's a huge, huge opportunity for guys to step up and almost cement their place going forward."
The Aussies are fresh from playing in the Big Bash League where top-order batsman D'Arcy Short bagged the player of the tournament award and became the first player to score 600-plus runs.
"With the two T20 matches (against India), it's a chance for the guys to continue on their Big Bash form and test themselves against the best in the world in their own conditions."
Five ODIs against India will follow the two-match T20 series.
"We still got 10 Internationals plus five other practice warm-up games before that first World Cup game so there's still a fair bit of cricket to go and as long as we keep tracking in the right direction and give India a really good fight and win the series that will be what is all about."
The recent T20 form of vice-captain Alex Carey and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis also augurs well for the Australian team.
"There are also things you can juggle around in one day cricket a bit for a little bit. So whatever we feel is a combination at the time I don't think anything is out of question."
Asked about their opening combination, he said: "Again in the ODI side Short is there. He's been exceptional and he's open the batting. He's obviously prolific in the middle order. Usman, myself, Alex. So there's still a few options."
After a miserable run of form this year, Australia are determined the players' key focus is on defending their one-day title ahead of the gruelling Ashes.
To manage the workload, the Australian top players won't be available for the last few weeks of the lucrative Indian Premier League that will run from March 23-May 13.
"I know there will be guys who will be here for the first half of the IPL and then be home by the start of May. So IPL will be really a crucial period for guys to be able to take that time off and get away from cricket and mentally recharge."
Finch also spoke highly of Stoinis who excelled for BBL runners-up Melbourne Stars scoring 533 runs at 53.30 and claiming 14 wickets to cap off a season where he was named the Australian male ODI player of the year.
"Yeah absolutely he's someone who can bowl 10 overs, bowl four overs in T20 cricket. He can be at the top of the order he can be really successful in the middle order as well.
"To have someone who's as flexible as that is a great asset in your team because then you can build a team around them and that can fill any hole that you need. If there's a weakness somewhere he's generally the best person to fix it and you can shuffle it around them," he added.
A perfect opportunity to stake a claim for two World Cup spots with the suspended duo of Steve Smith and David Warner racing against time to recover from injuries.