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Australia prepare for T20 World Cup defence

Australia will begin preparations for the their T20 World Cup defence when they head to India to play three matches in the space of six days.

The Aussies have been involved in One Day Internationals against Zimbabwe and New Zealand but will now turn their focus to the shortest format of the game.

They will begin their T20 World Cup defence in October but before then they have some big warm-up games to make sure they are firing on all cylinders for the tournament.

It looks as though their preparations will not be smooth however as a number of players have already been struck down by injury.

A huge few months are on the cards so let’s take a closer look at what is next for the Aussies.

T20 World Cup warm-up matches

Australia begin their preparations for the T20 World Cup with a three-match series against India.

All three games will be played in India with the first match taking place on Tuesday 20th September, before further games on the 23rd and 25th September to wrap up the series.

The Aussies will then return to home soil with two games against the West Indies and then three against England.

First up is two games against the West Indies. The first will be played on 5th October at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast with the second being played at the Gabba, Brisbane, on 7th October.

Then there are three games against England. The first will be played at Perth’s Optus Stadium on 9th October before they switch to Canberra for the other two games to be played on 12th and 14th October.

T20 World Cup defence

Australia are of course the defending champions and are priced at 3/1 to go on and retain their crown in front of their own supporters.

The tournament will run throughout October and November and the matches will be played at all the top cricket venues throughout Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart.

The final is set to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 13th November and the pressure will be on the Aussies to get there at the very least.

Australia are in Group 1 along with England, New Zealand, Afghanistan and the two qualifiers from the first round.

They will begin their campaign against New Zealand at the SCG on 22nd October, with the highlight of the group stage being the showdown with the old enemy England at the MCG on 28th October.

The Aussies wrap up the group stage against Afghanistan at the Adelaide Oval on 4th November.

Sandwiched in between will be the games against the qualifiers. One will be played in Perth and the other in Brisbane.

Injury issues for the Aussies

The T20 World Cup is still a good few weeks from getting underway but already the Australians are being hit by injury problems.

It has been the story of the last few months as key players have been ruled out, and now three other players have been added to the treatment room.

Mitchell Starc, Mitch Marsh and Marcus Stoinis are all nursing injury issues and have been left out of the squad that will travel to India.

It is hoped that all three are minor issues but it is still a concern nonetheless with the T20 World Cup fast approaching. Marsh in particular has been struggling and after he played such a key role in Australia’s T20 World Cup success, it is crucial the all-rounder is available.

David Warner will also sit out the trip to India as he takes a break following back-to-back ODI series against Zimbabwe and New Zealand.

The situation does present a big opportunity for other players to step up to the plate and prove their worth though.

Tim David is expected to make his debut against India in place of Stoinis, while Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams, and Sean Abbott also come into the squad and will be desperate to shine.

Australia squad: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Aaron Finch (c), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa. 

Finch backed to shine

Meanwhile Glenn Maxwell has backed T20 captain Aaron Finch to shine in India and also lead the Aussies to more World Cup glory.

Finch has struggled with his one-day form and has just stepped down as ODI captain but Maxwell says he is still a huge asset and is the best man to lead them in the T20 format.

“Once he gets out on the field and takes control of the team out there, he‘s been able to focus on the job at hand really well and that’s a credit to him,” Maxwell said at the SCG.

“Obviously, it wasn’t the easiest time for him in one-day cricket, but his attitude has never changed. He was brilliant with the strategy side of thing. It’s a very underrated thing in T20. Don’t discount his value as captain.”

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