Short of left-handed batters, Aussies fear Hasaranga’s spin in upcoming series
Sydney : The Australian cricket team will be woefully short of left-handed batters for the five-match T20 International series against Sir Lanka beginning with the game at Sydney Cricket Ground on February 11.With David Warner already not included in the side and now Travis Head the ‘Player of the Series’ during the Ashes too missing the start of Sri Lanka series due to his Marsh Sheffield Shield engagements, the hosts only have limited specialist left-handed batter options at the top.Head was in the original 16-memebr squad selected on January 25, but has been released from the T20I squad and will instead get a final red-ball tune-up in the Marsh Sheffield Shield for South Australia this week before leaving for the all-format tour of Pakistan later this month, according to cricket.com.au.Daniel Sams, a pace-bowling all-rounder has replaced Head in a squad and would like to make an impression ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup at home later this year. Head, though, will return for the last two games of the series in Melbourne.
Warner, who has performed remarkably against Sri Lanka scoring an unbeaten 100, 60 not out, 57 not out and 65 in his last four T20I innings, was not included in the original squad, leaving the top order shorn of left-handed batters.That leaves wicketkeeper-batter Matthew Wade as the only highly experienced left-hander to bat at the top, but given that he now thrives in the ‘finishing’ role, Australia have been left with no left-hand substitute for Warner and Head, unless of course, the selectors decide to push Wade up the order.Wade currently comes at the six-seven spot and had performed remarkably at the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE which Australia won.
The absence of left-handers at the top of the Australian batting order is fraught with risks as Sri Lanka boast of the world’s No.1 ranked T20I bowler, leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga.
The wrist spinner has troubled Aussie right-handers in the shortest format of the game and could be the tourists’ potent weapon again during the series.The 24-year-old Hasaranga has taken 52 wickets at 13.71 in his 33 T20Is since his debut in September 2019. Of those 52 victims, 43 have been right-handed, and 29 of those were bowled or lbw, according to the report.That wicket-taking ability combined with his miserly economy rate of 6.21 means Hasaranga will likely dominate the hosts’ planning meetings for the series.Though Ashton Agar is another left-hand option for the hosts, he was unlucky to miss most of Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign and could be a risky proposition. But the all-rounder’s performance for Big Bash League champions Perth Scorchers has been heartening and he could be deployed higher up than his usual No.6 position.
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head (for last two T20Is), Moises Henriques, Josh Inglis, Ben McDermott, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.