Exclusive: The team with the best bowling offense has the best chance of winning the T20 World Cup, says Brad Hogg

Australia are defending the T20 World Cup champions and the team will have the added pressure of defending the title in front of the home crowd when the tournament kicks off Down Under later this year.

In an exclusive conversation with Firstpost.com, Brad Hogg, who is the brand ambassador for Tourism Western Australia, talks about the team, the possible combinations and Aaron Finch. (Read the first part of the interview)

Excerpts:

So what do you think of the Australian team at the moment? Like, they are the defending T20 World Cup champions. So, do you think they are well prepared and need to fill any gaps in the next three months or are they fine as they are? Given their recent form?

Yeah, I just think the T20 game has changed quite a bit over the past two years. You have to be more offensive in these intermediates. There is no room for consolidation. So I think Steve Smith may have to change the way he plays. And where are you going about Steve Smith? Because Mitchell Marsh has to strike three. He proved that he dominates there, especially in the numerical superiorities where the ball arrives. He is quite aggressive and finds the limits easy.

So you need that dominant force at the top. And to continue in that middle order, I think they have to find a way to get Tim David in there too, at the back. In T20 tournaments around the world, he has proven to be a good finisher, but he has also landed practical off-spins. It has a bit of extra height where it gets extra bounce in Aussie conditions where that might be a little helpful. And he’s also a good defender. Aaron Finch. He also needs to find a bit of shape at the top of the order. That’s probably the couple of holes we have. But our bowling is the important thing. I think the team with the best bowling offense has the best chance of winning this tournament.

Steve Smith (R) could struggle to break into the XI for the T20 World Cup. (Source: AP)

So like you said about Steve Smith, he needs to change the way he hits right now. So do you think he’ll fit right into the playing XI or there might be a bit of a hiccup so he might sit out for a few games and someone else might take his place?

I think the thing is that Steve doesn’t play enough T20 cricket because he plays so much Test cricket. So that’s where the downfall is. And Cricket Australia removed him from the big party over time so he couldn’t go and enjoy it. But when I say that, listen, he’s a class beater, that’s just how the game has changed.

If you don’t play enough T20 cricket and don’t have that range of strokes to keep the momentum going, sometimes it will be very difficult to find your way through the middle and no matter how good of a batsman you are, it It’s a different game format, you play it differently. And has he worked on those particular skills where he can keep the run rate at a reasonable level through those overs between six and ten, mostly. This is probably where games are going to be won or lost now, six and ten, whoever keeps up the momentum with the bat will have better opportunities.

Aaron Finch of Australia bats during the Twenty20 cricket match between Pakistan and Australia at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. (AP Photo/KM Chaudary)

Australia will hope to have a consistent Aaron Finch at the top of the list. (Source: AP)

And a word on Aaron Finch as well, as given his recent form with the bat. Hasn’t had a good run apart from the recent series against Sri Lanka where he also won the man of the series award. So what do you think of him? Would that also have an impact on his leadership?

Finch, look, I think Finch with the ball swinging with his technique, playing away from his body and limited footwork with the front foot, I think that’s where he gets in trouble. And when he comes up against class bowlers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who bowls them all, that will be his downfall. But even if you have the left arm swing of Shaheen Afridi of Pakistan, the gap he leaves between bat and pad just creates these opportunities for opposition bowlers. So I think that’s where Aaron needs to work hard on his game. Leadership skills… I think he’s done a great job over the years. They won a World T20 World Cup, they also won a 50 over World Cup, so he did a great job.

I don’t think he was captain in those 50 overs. I think Steve Smith may have captained that 50 over tournament, but at the end of the day he did a fantastic job with those issues that we had a few years ago.

And his batting form might not affect his leadership, right?

No, he’s a pretty strong character, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. But I think you’re also looking at Eoin Morgan. Eoin Morgan did the same there. He was a great ambassador for the game and a great leader for England, and he rejuvenated the way they played. So I just hope Aaron Finch gets that moment where he comes out enjoying the game at some point and finds some form.

As you said, the team that plays well will have a better chance of winning the World Cup. How much of a role do you think the Spinners will play at the World Cup, given Australia’s larger borders?

Yeah I think the spinner plays a huge role and you made a good point there the biggest limits so that’s when you try to attack the spinners and try to clear the rope it’s is much more difficult in Australia. But saying that, the spinners have to adjust their lengths at the different wickets. So somewhere outside Perth Stadium you’d be a little smaller so the batsman couldn’t get out of the crease and hit you straight to the ground, and you’re trying to hit them in the wide bounds on the side of the leg.

And if you go to Adelaide, the longer boundaries are straight and the square boundaries are shorter. But by going a step further to try to get them to hit straight to the ground, you expose the sweeping shot. So you probably need to play with a bit more overspin there, so the swipe store is a bit harder. So those are the little niceties that you have in the different places in Australia.

Hogg believes Adam Zampa will be the frontline spinner for the T20 World Cup hosts.  (Source: AFP)

Hogg believes Adam Zampa will be the frontline spinner for the T20 World Cup hosts. (Source: AFP)

Ok, and who do you think will be Australia’s front row spinner or spinner at the World Cup?

I’m making a comeback, so, yes, I hope I’ll be selected. [Laughs] I think Adam Zampa did a fantastic job. He doesn’t have all the deliveries, but what he has, he knows he knows his game to a T, and I think he’s just the perfect white ball player for Australia right now. moment. It defines the perfect fields. He knows how he can control the drummer on the other end.

From a running pace perspective, he’s not a bowler who has the big wicket taking balls as such, but what he does is he builds pressure and brings the drummer after him. And in that, that’s where he sets up those wicket-taking opportunities, just the pressure that he creates, and that’s why he’s so unique.

Alright, and do you think Nathan Lyon will try his luck at the World Cup?

No. Certainly not. I think you’ll go with Ashton Agar. Most teams have more right-handed hitters than left-handed. And Hagar gives you that batting option. I think Nathan Lyon, you’re not going to get him in a T20 team just because of his stick. He adds nothing with the stick. And I just think the other options that we have have more around diversity and that’s bowling, stick and field. That’s why I think Ashton Agar will be ahead of Nathan Lyon.

Saying that, Nathan Lyon is a test match starter and probably one of the greatest spinners Australia has ever had. And just his skills were sensational and there’s no point in comparing him to other spinners. The wickets he played most of the time in Australia were much flatter than years past. So he didn’t really get that help. Just the energy that he’s able to create on the ball and build pressure and do his job through and through, and keep it tight so we can spin our fast bowlers, he’s done a terrific job for Australia and he’s probably there with one of the greats in the spinning business.

One last question, something that has nothing to do with the T20 WC. Recently, SA withdrew from the ODI series against Australia. It was an important series given that World Super League points were on the line for SA. From now on, all the points will go to Australia. What do you think of the future of bilateral ODI cricket given that they pulled it out because of the new T20 league they are launching in South Africa.

I think we need to look at it a little deeper. Cricket South Africa is currently on shaky ground with its finances so they are trying to do all they can to turn things around there. They are making a bold move here by going down this phase and focusing on their T20 tournament. It’s disappointing in one aspect, but ultimately the board sat there and said it was the best option for us to get out of the situation we’re in.

And really, the other teams can’t really blame them for pulling out because Australia pulled out of a few tournaments here and there on tours they should have been on. Other teams have done it too. So somewhere along the line, the ICC and the boards have to sit down and say where do we want the game to be in 5-10 years.

We have to make tough decisions right now. The calendar is all over the shop, jam-packed. We have T20 tournaments. The most important tournaments that we have been able to continue. These are the tournaments that put extra pressure on the schedule and don’t add any value to the game, so we might get rid of them. These big decisions will therefore have to be made by ICC and the Boards and we must work together to ensure that the opportunities for young people who come for the love of the big game are the same opportunities as for players of the past.

First of all, this is the most important. Second, what do the fans want? Because if we don’t have the fans, we don’t have the game. The fans make the game. They lift the energy from the players in the middle. Players and children of future generations should be at the forefront of administrators’ thoughts moving forward to make the right decisions.

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