Australia will take on West Indies at home, and this is the second time this year they are playing The Frank Worrell Trophy. It is a rarity for teams to play 2 series in same year. In terms of ranking Australia is at No. 3 behind India (No.2) & South Africa (No.1). West Indies is down at No. 8.
Not surprisingly in the age of constant changes in personnel (all format) host have kept 6 cricketers who representing Australia against West Indies earlier this year. In Steve Smith Australia have a new captain, who is leading a brand new side. In this few are making a comeback in International cricket, and few are playing the West Indies for the very first time. Shockingly since 2000 West Indies manage to win only one Test against Australia.
The stats since 2000(home and away): 23 Tests, Australia won 19, West Indies won 1, Drawn 3.
Here is a swat analysis of Australian team.
Joe Burns: In each game his scoring rate has been increasing irrespective runs scored. Technique is a given thing that can be looked at from various perspective – If bowlers and fielding team are able to capitalize on weakness than batsmen need to worry and amend their technique accordingly. If Burns plays the way he has been batting in last few innings, than he is in for a big score – Bat with freedom is the mantra for him.
David Warner: In the last series he has increased his capacity to bat for long period of time(since WC2015 as an opener 9 times he batted beyond 25th over). This (increase in scoring rate + increase of ratio of balls faced )will only enlarge Australia’s start and his personal runs. If his balls scoring per shot is at par with his career scoring rate than he is comfortable scoring decent runs, however he might be in danger of getting out early or low score, if he starts his innings either hastily , or slowly. He needs to balance is scoring rate and not go too far ahead of team’s run rate.
Steve Smith: I am sure he must have heard or read what Steve Waugh had to say about captaincy!. “See that you don’t lose your batting form", especially if you are top order batsman….always contribute (either by scoring runs or involved in substantial partnerships)”. Smith has continued to keep his great form he had last year, and along with Warner he is the key to Australia’s batting. It does not matter which position he bats. He has always contributed in role-play column (sum of all partnerships)which right now is the best in the world.
Since WC2015 his Batting Avg is 63.06, St.Rate 59.0 % runs in partnerships =40.00% scoring rate 29.39/100 balls. Frequency of fifties are every 3rd innings, and century is not far behind at every 4.75.
Sean Marsh: The NZ series saw him scratch around to stay at the wicket for long period of time, and was partially successful. By doing this he was getting runs frequently (his scoring rate gradually increased inning wise). The initial period is key for him( the first 10 overs at the crease).
There is a great improvement in his..
a) balls/scoring shot.
b) lesser scoring shots (the 1s, 2s, 3s )
suggesting he is able to rotate strike from the onset – and if he does regularly than than he does not have to worry about his initial slow period of not scoring any runs, it would come inevitably.
Adam Voges: Is getting into the groove of playing a major role for Australia in next couple of years. His scoring rate in last few innings has increased majorly. He has great ethics for building foundation and partnerships. His role-play is always high.
Mitchell Marsh: Like his brother Sean, Mitch needs to stick around as long as he can. Runs eventually will come by. He has a hard grip, hence he is very tentative at beginning of his innings, therefore if he is able to rotate strike from the onset than he is in for a big Test score. The confidence of taking small runs at the beginning is key for him.
Peter Nevill: Has gained confidence in scoring runs. Scoring rate increased. He like other past Aussie keepers feel the same way of his job as keeper, viz “ I am keeper who can bat”, and not batsman who can keep”!. His keeping has been exceptional – especially his leg side take of fast swing bowlers. One would associate his keeping style with the likes of 70s wicket-keepers (in particular Alan Knott, Rod Marsh, Derryk Murray, Jeff Dujon). His batting style resembles of Michael Slater (former dashing Aussie opener), however Nevill is less comfortable against short pitch bowling!.
Josh Hazlewood : In his last test inning he became Australia’s strike bowler(after Starc was injured), the leader of the pack, and for that he was rewarded best Test bowling figure. If this form continues, than in the forthcoming Frank Worrell series he has the ability to pick at least two wickets in an over(provided he gets his length + speed right). He has uncanny habit of swinging both ways and late…..however so far not been able to control it his both line and length. In past he was either trying to bowl short of length which did not help on pitches will less bounce and no pace(less grass). He at times tries to bowl fast, leading to lot of short of length deliveries which can be easily dealt with horizontal bat!. Hobart will be a true test for him especially if there is bright sunshine on a surface that resembles more like English pitches, viz not so hard, and easy to bat under sunshine.
Peter Siddle: Against NZ series he was less effective compare to Oval Test. Again he too should focus on getting his length fuller –viz good length to fuller – He can bowl long spells and contain run rate. If he is able to control his length consistently he has a knack to suffocate top batters and eventually pick wickets. At times he bowls unplayable spells of consistent accuracy – not allowing a single to leave!.
Nathan Lyon: One thought he was slightly shorter in length during the concluded NZ series. He does spin well and is extremely accurate. Nowadays he does not get rattled if a batsman takes him on, viz charges him and plays square. He has found a way to tie them down.
Mitchell Marsh: A mixed bag of tricks – Has the ability to pick wickets when require. Either he bowls extremely good spell or will have a ordinary one with too many short deliveries.
James Pattinson: A great opportunity to make a comeback – He is a great seam bowler with good pace, and he should focus on getting his length right, viz short of length to good length. If the conditions are not conducive to swing bowling, than he should pitch it up or bowl fuller length consistently. He tends to leak runs when is full without any movement. He has adapted well in difficult condition. The Australia A tour of India was great learning period for him. On condition that lacked grass and hardness, her was exceptional bowler. He does good bounce from short of length and with good pace. He should open the bowling with Hazlewood. The only grey area is lack of match practice in Australia’s domestic season. He played only 3 first class games.
Nathan Coulter-Nile: A surprise selection considering other domestic bowlers in Australia have picked more wickets, and have been very consistent in both run-rate and strike rate. However Aussie selectors are keen to have a bowler who can clock 140+ consistently, and Coulter- Nile is one of them…..although this year he still has to play a first class match. And other than being a speedster, at best he is handy lower order batsman and safe fielder. Like Pattinson he is short of match practice. However a gut feeling led the selectors to pick him in Australian squad….. if he gets his line right, he can be dangerous in short spells!.