It's been almost five years since Australia last won a global cricket title, the last being the Champions Trophy in 2009. The last time they won a World Cup was the 50-over version in 2007 and the period marked the end of some of the greatest Australian careers -- Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist among them. Lots of new faces came in and tried to fill in those big boots, but those boots proved too big to fill -- which ultimately led to a lengthy barren patch. In the four editions of the World Twenty20, the best Australia have done was to make the final in 2010.
This time Australia have come to Bangladesh with a definite target -- to win the elusive silverware of the World Twenty20 and thereby end the drought of world titles. Skipper George Bailey admitted this could be the ideal time to win the elusive silverware.
“We're certainly very keen to win it,” said the 31-year-old skipper at a pre-tournament press conference at a Dhaka hotel yesterday. “I think given Australia's history at the World Twenty20, we would certainly like to rectify it, but we are no more desperate than any other side here.”
Bailey has every reason to be optimistic about his side's chances as they have got an explosive batting line-up, one of the most fearsome pace attacks -- even with the absence of Mitchell Johnson -- with perhaps a slightly light spin department.
Bailey acknowledges that their batting line-up is so strong, especially at the top of the order, that it is a kind of dilemma for the team management to accommodate everyone.
“Watto (Shane Watson) will bat at number three I think, as he has done since Finch has come into the side. As far as the logjam goes, it's a nice logjam, we are happy to have it,” said Bailey.
Australia enter this tournament having won their five matches -- all three against England at home and then winning two away at South Africa. Bailey thinks that form matters little in Twenty20, but it is the balance of this side which gives him most pleasure. The skipper stops short of calling this side the best Australian Twenty20 side ever.
“I don't know if it's our best team (in T20 World Cups), but I'm certainly very happy with it. I'm comfortable with the balance and I think that is very important,” said Bailey.
If there is a weak link to be found in this side, it could come in the spin department which relies heavily on an ever-green Brad Hogg, together with a number of part-timers. But Bailey is willing to back his spin department on the pitches of Dhaka and Chittagong.
“We've got all bases covered. I think Brad Hogg is different as far as left-arm leg-spin goes, there aren't a lot of them. (James) Muirhead is a young leg-spinner for us, I'll love having the option of having leg-spinners in the side, because they are match-winners. Lots of part-timers and lots of back-up spinners too…..so we've got plenty of options there,” said Bailey.