Headaches aplenty for ‘one-dimensional’ Australia

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Australia’s batsmen must change their style or the selectors must change personnel to fit the desired game plan. The captain Aaron Finch gave this frank assessment in the knowledge that the national team has only three ODI series left to form cohesive plans for next year’s World Cup, with performances and changing tactics indicating that these are some distance from completion.
Chris Lynn’s power game is dangerous against medium pacers but South Africa’s genuine speed had him covered, according to South Africa captain Faf du Plessis.
“I do feel he is going to give you a chance from a bowling point of view because he’s an X-factor player who wants to go hard at the ball,” du Plessis said. “That creates an opportunity for us as a bowling attack to try and get him out. We’ve got a bit of pace in our attack so that helps. You can push him back.
“He looks like he’s comfortable when the ball is a little bit slower and 130s, and he tries to bully that pace. The nice thing is we do have pace in our attack to make sure he doesn’t get to free his arms consistently.”
Finch sounded a note of disappointment and some indecision after losing the decisive third match to South Africa in Hobart, having gambled on the hyper-aggressive pairing of himself and Chris Lynn at the top of the batting order in pursuit of 321 for victory only to see both openers dismissed cheaply by the new ball. Running his eye down a batting order that has now shuffled Glenn Maxwell as low as No. 7, Finch said that the Australian bent towards aggression had created a “fairly one-dimensional” collection of batsmen.
Alongside the coach Justin Langer and the selectors Trevor Hohns and Greg Chappell, Finch said that either the selected group needed to become more adaptable to the demands of the 50-over game, or the selectors had to go in another direction. This calculation will be complicated by the fact the banned duo of David Warner and Steven Smith will return to eligibility in April, with the World Cup set to begin on May 30 in England.
“If you look at our line-up on paper at the moment you’d say it’s an attacking side,” Finch said. “A fairly one-dimensional side in terms of attack, versus workers of the ball and your traditional batsmen. Not to disrespect any of the players by any stretch, but it’s probably that way and we haven’t got it right for a while.
“And that does expose you in the middle order at times when you come upon some different wickets or a really good attack who get on top of you early. We’ve got a bit over two months until the next one-day games against India, so that’ll be a really good opportunity to sit down and reassess and start mapping out that process of how I and JL (Langer) and the leaders think we can be the most successful in this format.
“The side we’ve got at the moment is that way inclined, it’s not necessarily the way we’ve been trying to play. So it’s going to be a combination of both, we have to either adapt our game plan a little bit around the way the side is structured best, or we slightly change our personnel to fit a style we think can win. That’s something that will come out over the next couple of months when we sit down and dig into it and find a way to get back on top of the world.”
Asked about England’s high octane approach to the early overs of an innings, after which the likes of Joe Root and Eoin Morgan could either carry on the momentum or repair things after the loss of early wickets, Finch said that the more sedate early overs approach of India also needed to be considered in Australia’s planning.
“That [England] is not the only way it’s heading,” he said. “If you look at India, they’re quite conservative in that first 10, really solid in that middle 30 overs where they rotate the strike and lose minimal wickets, then they load up at the back end. When they’re chasing they’re pretty clinical or have been in the last five or six years.