The Australian selectors rang in the changes in the squad led by skipper Aaron Finch with wicketkeeper batsman Ben McDermott and pacer Billy Stanlake making their international comebacks.
Australia’s Ashes hero Steve Smith could play his first T20I in more than three years after being named in the squad while there was no place for hard-hitting batsman Chris Lynn. The two three-match series against the subcontinent teams will kick-start Australia’s preparation for the 2020 T20 World Cup to be held on home soil in just over a year.
“It is almost a year to the day until Australia hosts the men’s Twenty20 World Cup and we have selected this squad with that in mind,” Australia national selector Trevor Hohns was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“We have looked to put a squad together that we think can take us through to that tournament.
“The squad we have selected is quite role specific and we believe it gives us the flexibility to thrive in all match conditions.”
BREAKING: Australia's T20I squad to take on Sri Lanka and Pakistan:— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) October 8, 2019
Aaron Finch (c)
Ashes 2019 leading wicket-taker Pat Cummins has been named as the vice-captain of the squad alongside wicketkeeper Alex Carey and he will be joined by Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Stanlake and Andrew Tye in the fast-bowling department.
“Mitchell Starc gives us a left-arm option and has earned a reputation as one of the world’s leading quicks at the top of the innings and at the death,” said Hohns.
“Pat Cummins is a world-class right-arm option and has been in superb form of late. Andrew Tye is a wicket-taking proposition, Billy Stanlake has the X-factor and Kane Richardson has been an excellent short-form player for some time now.”
Justin Langer’s men will first welcome Sri Lanka for a three-match series beginning at Adelaide on October 27 before they take on Pakistan in as many clashes from November 3.
Australia 14-man T20I squad
Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott (wk), Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Australia v Sri Lanka Fixtures
First T20I: Adelaide, October 27
Second T20I: Brisbane, October 30
Third T20I: Melbourne, November 1
Australia v Pakistan Fixtures
First T20I: Sydney, November 3
Second T20I: Canberra, November 5
Third T20I: Perth, November 8
Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has put down the embarrassing T20I series defeat at home at the hands of Sri Lanka to Babar Azam’s failure to fire with the bat.
Pakistan were bowled out for the second match in a row on Monday, in the second T20I at Lahore, with Sri Lanka’s second-string squad notching up a 35-run win to clinch the three-match series.
It was the third series defeat in a row for the No1 ranked Pakistan and the first under the tenure of Misbah who is performing the dual role of head coach as well as chief selector of the men’s side.
Babar, who has been Pakistan’s star batsman for some time now, was dismissed cheaply for the second game in a row by Sri Lanka seamer Nuwan Pradeep with the right-hander aggregating just 16 runs from his two innings in the series.
“We became number one in the T20I rankings but if you dig deeper, what has been our strength mostly – it’s been due to Babar Azam’s runs. He didn’t score in two games and we’ve been exposed,” the Pakistan head coach stated after the loss the Gaddafi stadium.
Misbah-ul-Haq "We became number 1 in the T20I rankings but if you dig deeper, what has been our strength mostly - it's been due to Babar Azam's runs and he didn't score in two games and we've been exposed" #PakvSL #Cricket— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) October 7, 2019
Misbah’s own selections for the T20I series have come under the scanner with the recalled Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad failing to justify their inclusion in the playing XI with twin failures in both losses.
While Shehzad was marginally able to improve on his four-run outing in the first T20, Akmal bagged his second golden duck in a row to create an infamous record for himself. The younger Akmal sibling has now been dismissed for zero in the format on a record 10 occasions. Their failure, coupled with Babar’s, meant that Pakistan were always facing an uphill task in the run-chase of 183 runs.
Akmal, Shehzad and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed were dismissed inside the space of four deliveries by Sir Lanka leggie Wanindu Hasaranga with all three batsmen failing to pick his wrong one.
In the end, a lower-order fightback from all-rounder Imad Wasim (47) was not enough with the Men in Green bundled out for 147 runs inside 19 overs at Lahore.
Misbah put the T20I series defeat to a No8 ranked Sri Lanka down to the team’s ability to perform in all three departments of the game.
Misbah-ul-Haq "This is a good eye-opener for us. We have deficiencies in every department, in bowling, batting, especially the way we got out in both matches. We have deficiencies against playing spin, death bowling and we have to work a lot on these things" #PAKvSL— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) October 7, 2019
“This is a good eye-opener for us. We have deficiencies in every department, in bowling, batting, especially the way we got out in both matches. We have deficiencies against playing spin, death bowling and we have to work a lot on these things,” Misbah stated.
Having handed the Lankans an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, Misbah and Pakistan will hope to give the home fans something to cheer about when the two sides lock horns in the final T20 at Lahore on Wednesday.
Having crushed the hosts by 64 runs in the first T20, Sri Lanka were in irresistible form once again as they romped their way to a 35-run win in the second of the three-match series at the Gaddafi stadium.
The visitors opted to bat first and they racked up a daunting total of 182-6 before bundling out Pakistan for just 147 inside 19 overs.
Here, we look at the key talking points.
Sri Lanka’s aggressive intent takes Pakistan by surprise once again
Sri Lanka’s young guns had stunned Pakistan with their aggressive intent in the first T20I. And they were further emboldened in their endeavors on Monday as the visitors took the game to the Men in Green.
Despite losing in-form opener Danushka Gunathilaka early into their innings, the islanders would not take the foot off the gas with each batsman looking to score runs at every opportunity.
Playing in only his second T20I, Bhanuka Rajapaksa smashed a superb 48-ball 77 with the left-hander showing no fear at all at the crease.
Rajapaksa brought back memories of a certain Sanath Jayasuriya in a knock containing six huge sixes and four boundaries.
The 27-year-old got able support from Jayasuriya at the other end, who scored a fast 34 to help advance Sri Lanka’s cause in the middle overs.
While they did lose their way a bit after the 15th over, skipper Dasun Shanaka’s explosive 27-run cameo at the death meant that their early blitz did not go to waste.
Akmal, Shehzad flop again as Pakistan’s batting flounders
Having been set a daunting target of 182 to level the series, Pakistan were put on the back-foot early into their innings with star batsman Babar Azam falling cheaply to Nuwan Pradeep for the second match in a row.
As such, the pressure on Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad increased after their failure to fire on their Pakistan comebacks in the first T20I. Unfortunately for Pakistan and coach Misbah, the two players turned into duds once again with Sri Lanka leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga dismissing them off successive deliveries.
Both the batsmen failed to read the Sri Lankan’s googly with Akmal falling for a golden duck for the second innings in a row.
Pakistan’s misery was complete when Hasaranga sent skipper Sarfraz back to the pavilion in the same over to bring up three dismissals in the space of four deliveries.
There was no coming back for the hosts from that point onwards with the top-order’s second successive failure costing them once again at Lahore.
T20I Kings losing their spark
Pakistan’s rise to the top of the T20I standings had been an impressive one with the Men in Green registering 11 series win on the bounce since the turn of 2016.
However, it has all gone sour lately for Sarfraz and his men with Saturday’s loss relegating them to their third successive series defeat after recent reversals against South Africa and England.
It was not the start that Misbah-ul-Haq would have wanted to his tenure as Pakistan coach with his squad selections inviting plenty of criticism before the series had even begun.
His gamble to bring back the mercurial Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad failed to pay off with a second-string Sri Lanka side making the hosts look ordinary in front of their own fans.
Trying to fix something that was not broken in the first place backfired for the hosts with a No8 ranked Sri Lanka outfit, missing 10 key players, showing them how it is done.
With the T20 World Cup in Australia just over a year away, Pakistan will need to rediscover their spark soon and for that, they might need to revert to the basics which worked perfectly for them during Arthur’s tenure.