Former Australia captain Steve Waugh, who led his team to World Cup 2003 triumph believes that in Australia, the focus of cricket authorities on Test cricket is certainly laudatory but at the same time, it is also responsible for the team’s unsatisfactory performance in the recently concluded T20 World Cup. But he still sees Australia’s early exit from the T20 World Cup as a positive sign.
“I was in India for about 10 days during the World T20 and I saw the fanaticism of the people about the event in and around the stadiums. But I see Australia losing early in a good way as it’s probably the only country which puts Test cricket on a pedestal and because of that its T20 cricket has suffered.
“You have to give credit to Cricket Australia for the way it has tried to protect Test cricket when most other countries have not been doing. We probably got what we deserved in World T20 but we haven’t prepared that well because the focus in Australia has been on Tests.”
According to Waugh, Australia currently are not playing enough Twenty20 internationals and due to which they are not getting enough practice and experience to play the shortest version of the game against quality teams. Waugh further said that the selectors have shuffled a lot with the team which resulted in the players not getting into the groove and adapt to that kind of consistency which is required at the highest level.
The legendary cricketing figure also said that a packed schedule has also taken its toll on the Australian team, “I bumped into Steve Smith over there and he said playing three forms of cricket means you’re away for 280 days a year, which is a lot from your family but it is more intense these days.
“We were away for the same amount of time, for instance, the tour of the UK for an Ashes tour was four-and-a-half months, these days it is two-and-a-half months, so they squeeze in a lot more high-level, intensity cricket. So it is hard on the players physically, I guess mentally and technically.
“It is a real challenge. I think [having] the guys play all three formats is probably too much but I still think we need to find a way for the T20 side to fulfil their potential and we can be the top of all three forms of the game.”
Australia, currently the world’s No.1 Test and one-day team, failed to progress from the group stage for the second time in a row despite having some of the best Twenty20 players in the world.
While Cricket Australia’s goal is to be No.1 in all three forms of the game, the interests of the national Twenty20 squad have tended to be shifted behind the Test and ODIs teams, which are considered more important.
Australia are at present sixth in ICC’s T20 rankings and have never won the World T20, their best effort was finishing runners-up in 2012.
The team that suffered an early exit in India had some of the most sought-after players in the Indian Premier League in David Warner, Shane Watson and James Faulkner, while Aaron Finch is No.2 in the ICC’s batting charts.