Pretty Close To The Completion Of The Combination In T20 WC - Long > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Pretty close on finalising combination for T20 WC - Langer

Will Matthew Wade be able to adjust to a middle-order role in Australia's T20 setup?

Will Matthew Wade be able to adjust to a middle-order role in Australia's T20 setup?

In contrast to last year's World Cup where "they left it a little bit late," Australia coach Justin Langer feels the team combination is in much better shape going into the T20 WC in October.

"(This year), we're pretty close to where we want to be," Langer was quoted as saying by in Johannesburg, where Australia will play the first of three T20Is against South Africa. "But obviously there are opportunities and there are always opportunities that present every time we play a game.

"But we are getting very close to that style of play and the team we want to play when the World Cup comes around. But it's still eight or nine months away."

The strength of Australia's T20 squad was on show late last year when they blanked Sri Lanka and Pakistan at home. It's only probably one or two spots in the middle-order that they're looking to shore up following a settled top five in the form of David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey.

Maxwell's unavailability for the South Africa tour means more space for the likes of Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade to fight it out. While both had a good BBL season, Marsh has the experience of batting in the middle-order which is more in line with Australia's hunt of someone who can "finish the innings for us". However, Langer was confident Wade would be able to adjust just as well.

"[Wade] got that hundred in the Big Bash a few weeks ago [against Adelaide] and reminded us all how damaging he can be," Langer said. "And also, on the Australia A tour last year leading up to the Ashes, he scored two hundreds in four innings in one-day cricket.

"He's so dynamic, he plays spin very well, he bats at No.5 for us in the Test side [and] he's very experienced. He'll adjust and we know with a few of our guys, if we need them to open, they can open. But we're looking for those guys to finish the innings for us and we've made no secret of that."

In addition to finalising that spot, Australia have a few other things to look out for as well. This is the first time Steve Smith and David Warner are returning to South Africa since the ball-tampering scandal, and the reception's set to be hostile. But Langer's confident the duo will be able to take it in their stride, just like they did in England, where the crowds were pretty vocal too.

"The guys are in a really good place," Langer said of the duo. "They've worked hard. We had a tough tour in England, but the way the guys have come together, played great cricket - they've been great ambassadors for Australian cricket on and off the field, and we are really excited to be back here. We love playing cricket in South Africa."

Australia captain Finch seconded his coach, adding that he even leans on Smith and Warner for advice on the field. "South African crowds are very passionate and very vocal. We're expecting that," Finch said. "David loves that banter coming from the crowd. It gets him into the game. I don't think it's going to make much difference to our group. We're going to play cricket with a smile on our face."

The T20Is between South Africa and Australia start from February 21, following which they'll play a three-match ODI series as well.

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