Head reveals secrets behind IPL success

Australia & Oman Net Sessions - ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024
Travis Head knows little about Oman. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Conceding he only knows “bits and pieces” about the Oman bowlers he’ll face in Australia’s T20 World Cup opener, Travis Head will use the same pre-match spying routine he says helped him plunder a pile of runs in the Indian Premier League to prepare.

The Australian opener, who has announced he’s becoming a father for the second time, said he’d been provided with footage of the bowlers he’ll face in Barbados on Thursday morning but prefers to get an up close look when they go through their warm-ups.

It’s the same process he used to help compile a mammoth 567 runs in 15 games for Sunrisers Hyderabad, including a century and three 50s, swatting 32 sixes and 64 fours as his team went all the way to the final, where they were beaten by Mitchell Starc’s Kolkata Knight Riders.

“At some stage over the next sort of tonight or tomorrow I may have a quick look at some of the guys,” he said on match eve.

“You’ll get heaps of footage, but for me personally, I’ll probably just watch a little bit in the warm-up, sort of try and get a rough idea on who’s who. A little bit like I was in India as well, just sort of see the bowlers going through, stand somewhat near them in the warm-up and have a look at what’s going on around the bowling stuff and then stay pretty calm and relaxed.

“Talk to Tom, the analyst here, about how they sort of stack up in the power play and I’ll try and worry about that part and then take it from there. Try and get a rough idea who those guys are and then probably just watch them live in the warm-up and get a feel for what I’m coming in to expect.”

Head hits the tournament having been among a bevy of late-arriving Australians after making a quick trip home from India. It meant he missed both warm-up games and another practice session was rained out.

It’s the first T20 World Cup for Head, who was player of the match in Australia’s ODI World Cup triumph in India last year, having also been player of the match in the World Test Championship final, showing he was a man for the big events.

The Australians should take care of Oman in the opening game, but his experience of tournament play in India last year taught Head that it was important not to get too fired up too early.

“The one-day World Cup didn’t really feel like a World Cup until we get down to the business end of it, so a little bit the same here,” he said.

“You want to be winning every game. You want to be peaking at the right time, so for us, we start tomorrow, but also we want to do the right things, get the super eights and be peaking in the back end. I think we did that really well in the one-day tournament. We want to be going fine at the right time.

“So we want to get everything right in these first few games and make sure we’re in the right position to accelerate in the back half of the tournament.”