Aussies not fazed by ‘disjointed’ World Cup prep

Cricket: Men's T20 World Cup, Group A, USA v Canada
Richie Berrington (DL) of Scotland, Gerhard Erasmus (L) of Namibia, Jos Buttler (C) of England, Mitchell Marsh (R) and Aqib Ilyas (DR) of Oman with the trophy ahead of the start of the ICC Men's T20 CWC at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados, on June 1, 2024. (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP)

Australian captain Mitch Marsh concedes his team’s T20 World Cup preparation has been “disjointed” but is adamant things will come together in time for Friday’s opening clash with Oman in Barbados.

Marsh, who said he won’t be bowling “early on in the tournament” was adamant the Australians got what they needed out of two warm-up games played with just nine squad members as others only connected with the team over the weekend.

Three members of Australia’s 15-man squad played in the final of the Indian Premier League just a week ago and were given time to return to Australia for “a bit of family” before joining the bulk of the squad in the Caribbean.

Their absence for warm-up matches against Namibia and the West Indies demanded four members of the support staff, including selection chief George Bailey, field.

In the second match the Australian bowlers were carted for 257 runs by the Windies batters, which would have been a record scored conceded if the match had officially counted.

With the team now assembled, including first-choice players Pat Cummins and Travis Head with Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc the latest having got their fill of T20 cricket during the IPL, Marsh said his team would be ready to “kick off” this week.

“Things may look a little bit disjointed at the beginning and I think most teams are in the same boat with guys that are playing the IPL or coming out of the shop,” he said.

“But that’s the nature of the beast of international cricket these days. We come from all over to tours and we’ll get around each other the next few days and come together and kick off.

“ I think for the guys to get a couple of days at home is really important for us as a group and for them personally. Obviously, it takes a few days to get here from Australia so that adds a few challenges but they’ll be ready to go

“But yeah, for the guys that have had time off at home, for me to come back and get a bit of game time, that’s really all I needed from those practice games. So, we certainly feel like we’re ready to go now.”

Marsh said the little bit of time off for those who were at the IPL, which impacted the lead-in, could help the Aussies at the back-end of what is a whirlwind tournament.

“We really value a bit of family time. The guys have obviously been at the IPL, which I think is great preparation for a World Cup,” he said.

“And then, Yeah, just the value of seeing their families and getting them in their own bed for one or two nights is really important. So yeah, as a whole, we’re all bought into that and it’s really easy to do.”

Marsh left the IPL early with a hamstring which is still limiting his ability to bowl, which could mean fellow all-rounder Cameron Green becomes a crucial piece of the side.

“Yeah, I won’t be bowling early on in the tournament. And I always joke as captain - I hope I won’t bowl late in the tournament either,” he said.

“But yeah, I’ll progress that slowly over the next 10-12 days and hopefully be available for them at the back end of the tournament.”