Big Bash Form Creates Healthy Contest for Australia’s World Cup Spots
January 05, 2015
The ICC World Cup is little over a month away and Australia will turn its attention to winning the competition for a fifth time upon the completion of its test series against India. On home soil the Aussies will be among the favourites to lift the World Cup when the tournament gets underway on February 13. The hosts will play a Tri Series against England and India in preparation for Cricket’s showpiece event.
Australia is currently ranked the best One Day side in the world narrowly ahead of the World Cup holders India. The Aussies shot to the top of the rankings after pummelling South Africa 4-1 in their most recent ODI series. While most of the men who delivered success in that battle will be automatic selections for the World Cup some surprises may be in store.
With the Big Bash now in full swing, a few big performances have fans and experts alike jotting down their outsiders to make a late run for Australia’s Squad. The T20 tournament has seen some explosive efforts from individuals eyeing a shot at the 50 Over format at international level. So which smokies could steal a spot in the Aussie team?
Ludeman Lighting up the Big Bash
Tim Ludeman has lit up the Big Bash this season and two match winning performances for the Adelaide Strikers has propelled him into World Cup contention. The Nirranda junior jumped out of the blocks in the BBL opener, bashing a brilliant 92 off just 44 balls. While his second half century of the tournament helped guide Adelaide to another win over last year’s finalists the Hobart Hurricanes. Endorsement from Australian selector Mark Waugh will surely help Ludeman’s cause but while Waugh confirmed the 27 year old is being considered; the Strikers wicketkeeper faces a tough ask to dismantle current incumbent Matthew Wade while other competition includes big hitting Tasmanian Ben Dunk.
Jason Jumping Into Cup Contention
Canberra quick Jason Behrendorff could be a bolter for the Green and Gold; that’s according to former Australian stars Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting. Behrendorff’s been a revelation in the Big Bash so far, taking 8 scalps at an average of just under 12. The Perth Scorchers leading wicket taker has an impressive economy at a tick under a run a ball while his domestic One Day from has also been solid. His inclusion though is unlikely with Australia already boasting two top left arm bowlers. International cricketer of the year Mitch Johnson is a walk up while Mitchell Starc is also set to be selected.
Current Scorchers coach Justin Langer believes his charger should be considered and a limited number of lefties in the squad is nonsense. If Behrendorff can continue his fine form and help lead the Scorchers to back to back Big Bash titles then momentum for his selection will build. However it’s more likely he’ll be among the emergencies to cover for any injuries… Especially the left armers.
Agar a Chance for Australia’s Squad
Ashton Agar hasn’t set this season’s Big Bash on fire but his recent recall to Australia’s test squad shows he’s still in selectors’ minds. At 21 Agar is an athletic and exuberant player and while his spin bowling is still a work in progress his strong lower order batting mixed with his exceptional fielding makes him a potential outstanding all-round package. That’s a role that’s currently occupied by Glenn Maxwell but his form has faded. While the Victorian has shown he can succeed at the top level, he failed to get going against the Proteas despite Australia’s dominance. Maxwell had hoped a strong Big Bash campaign would seal his spot but ‘The Big Show’ has been a no show in the T/20s so far and his position in the team has come under scrutiny.
Agar has proven in the past he can be called upon at the final hour and can handle the big occasion. His test debut against England at Trent Bridge in 2013 came from the clouds but Agar almost capped it with a century before being falling on 98. A young man with no fear, Agar appears to be a future Australian star but has the World Cup come to early?
The remaining matches in the Big Bash have plenty riding on them for some of Australia’s current One Day players and those pushing for a position in the team. While potential bolters for the World Cup may get a chance to shine in the much anticipated ODI tri series beginning on January 16.