A baffled Mark Waugh believes Australia’s selectors have been “caught on the hop” ahead of this month’s T20 World Cup following Cameron Green’s coming of age.
In the absence of David Warner, Green had a breakout series against India – the cricket powerhouse Ricky Ponting believes will meet Australia in the final – scoring two explosive half centuries.
Extraordinarily, however, Green is not in Australia’s squad for their World Cup defence.
Australian coach Andrew McDonald called Green’s time in the sun as “fortuitous” but said the selected squad would be backed to lift the World Cup again.
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Curiously though, not only was Green selected in Australia’s squad for the T20s against the West Indies and England, he was listed to open while out of sorts opener and captain Aaron Finch was named to come in at No.4.
“Well, I’m not sure (about the selections),” Waugh said on Fox Cricket.
“I mean Cameron Green was outstanding opening the batting in India.
“The thing is he’s not in the World Cup squad, so if you’re preparing for the World Cup why would you open with him? Wouldn’t Aaron Finch be opening the batting if you were preparing for the World Cup, so I find it a little confusing.
“I’ve got no doubt about it, if Cameron green is in our World Cup squad it is a better squad. He’s that good a player. At the moment, you can only get in if there’s an injury so who knows what’s happening there with Marcus Stoinis, Mitch Marsh coming up from injury but it’s interesting isn’t that he’s opening tonight.”
Former Australian vice-captain Brad Haddin agreed: “Yeah, I find the decision odd to be honest. They’re preparing for a World Cup … they’re obviously thinking about this game only to win because it makes no sense otherwise to be playing Cameron Green when he hasn’t even been selected in this original squad.”
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Australia’s selectors have said Green won’t be added to the squad unless there is an injury.
All-rounders Marcus Stoinis and Ashton Agar are being kept in cotton wool for the time being, but the World Cup-winning duo are expected to return in time for the home campaign later this month.
Mitch Marsh meanwhile is unlikely to bowl but was included for Wednesday’s T20 opener.
Waugh, who won the 1999 ODI World Cup and went on to be a national selector, said Australia were a better side with Green in it.
“I mean, the Australian selectors would love to have Carmen Green in there, but they’ve been caught on the hop,” he said.
“Cameron Green’s performance in India has caught everyone on the hop.
“Now they’re thinking how do we get him in there, but they’re going to stay loyal with the players that picked originally.”
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Meanwhile, Brad Haddin said Steve Smith would be “filthy” for not playing in the T20 opener.
His non-selection has given Tim David another chance to make a middle-order spot his own.
Waugh said David was a must-pick for the World Cup and said Smith was in danger of being dropped permanently.
“I think Tim David’s got to play in the World Cup, I think he’s an outstanding prospect,” he said.
“Steve Smith’s a world class player but even a guy like Joe Root, he doesn’t get in the English T20 team either.
“Steve Smith, look, he’s still an excellent player, but he’s striking there of 113 at age 33 (since 2021), I don’t think you’re going to make too many T20 sides, especially the caliber of Australia.
“So yes, he can play a role, he can knock it around in the gaps if the Australians do get in trouble.
“But here’s Tim David, this is what he offers and I think T20 cricket’s really turning into a power game. It’s hard to be knocking back someone like this if he’s in your squad and not picking him in the XI.”
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