Australia batsmen need to play spin better: Maxwell

Durban, March 2 (IANS) Keeping in mind the forthcoming World Twenty20 tournament in India, hard-hitting batsman Glenn Maxwell pointed out that Australian batsmen must master the art of playing spin if they are to do well in the upcoming competition.

As part of their preparations for the World T20, Australia will play three T20 Internationals against hosts South Africa starting on Friday.

While South Africa have won three of their last four T20 series, Australia are coming off a 0-3 whitewash at home to India. Two of South Africa’s victories came in the subcontinent, the same place the World T20 will be played.

On the other hand, Australia have not played in the subcontinent since 2014.

“Our record hasn’t been great in the subcontinent, especially playing excellent spin. You’ve only to look back at our last performance at the World T20 in 2014 in Bangladesh, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Sunil Narine, we struggled against,” Maxwell was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday.

Even in the series against India at home, Australia were undone by spin. Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin shared nine wickets between them to finish behind young Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah on the wicket-takers’ list.

But the Australia line-up that played in those matches is different from the one that will play in South Africa or at the World T20 and Maxwell has promised they will have more muscle.

“If you look at our batting order, it’s suited to combat that. We’ve got excellent players of spin in our team and guys that have got international experience in India. It’s going to be key for us to have those guys perform well for us. It felt like the Indian series we were trying a lot of players. We didn’t play our main team at any stage. It’s an exciting that we can get better from that. Hopefully when we hit Durban on Friday night we can show that with our No. 1 side,” Maxwell said.

Australia have dispensed with the likes of youngsters Travis Head and Chris Lynn for now and will rely on the experience of Aaron Finch, David Warner and Shane Watson.

They have settled on their Test wicket-keeper who was not part of the India series — Peter Nevill — instead of Matthew Wade or Cameron Bancroft and they have decided they can do without Shaun Marsh. Now, they need to find the consistency they have lacked in this format, which Maxwell said is because of the irregularity with which they play it.

“We play a lot of one-day cricket and you get used to your role in that team but in T20s, we’ve played quite sparingly as a team at international level. Between the World T20 in Bangladesh and now, we’ve played only a few games in a row where you can get a roll on,” the 27-year-old concluded.

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