The current world champions have got a job on their hands. Despite the MOU tussle with their cricketing board, the players would be focussing on this big tournament to have another ICC trophy in their cabinet. Australia are the only team to defend the Champions Trophy – they won in 2006 and 2009. The No. 2 ranked team in ODIs are placed in Group A alongside host England, New Zealand and Bangladesh. It’s fair to say this is the group of death.
Australia have a balanced squad with the right mix of top-class batsmen and terrific bowlers. The pace quartet comprising Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson are set to threaten the opponents. The top-order looks deadly with David Warner, Aaron Finch and Steve Smith. It will be intriguing to see where Australia would play Chris Lynn. He has proved time and again how destructive he can be when he gets going.
It’s likely that the wickets will be drier than usual, so trusting the conditions, Australia have gone with just one spinner, Adam Zampa. The 25-year-old leggie is expected to play a bigger role in Australia’s campaign.
Smith will have a headache in picking the all-rounders. Marcus Stoinis, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell – all are part of the squad. But who will make it to the playing XI? with how things have gone in the past, it’s safe to assume that Maxwell will be given a chance ahead of others atleast in the first few games. However, the biggest concern for Australia has been the contribution from Matthew Wade.
Since the departure of Adam Gilchrist, Australia are struggling to find an effective wicket-keeper batsman in limited overs. If Australian top-order collapses in any of their matches, there will be a huge responsibility on Wade to take his team safe home. But, does he have the potential to do that? with an average of 26.78 and a strike rate of 82.04, the chances look slim.
Australia will face their Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in their opening match on June 2nd at Edgbaston.
Squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.