Australia’s T20 World Cup hinges on one huge call

The puzzle that is Australia’s batting for the T20 World Cup remains unsolved – there’s form concerns, constant line-up changes and no real consensus on who the best XI is.

Whatever the question, the answer has to include Steve Smith moving up the batting order.

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“If you’re not batting him in the top three, I think it’s a mistake,” former Test captain Ian Chappell told Wide World of Sports.

“The problem with T20 cricket is that everyone who can bat a bit wants to bat in the top three, for obvious reasons.

“I’m not so convinced about Mitch Marsh at three against the better countries. In the end, class shows out and Steve Smith’s not just likely, but he will make you more runs over a period of time than anyone else, because he’s shown that over a number of years.

“In my opinion, your top three has to be the three guys who are most likely to make a hundred in 50-over cricket, or a big score as far as 20-over cricket is concerned.

Glenn Maxwell, however, is the the exception to the rule.

“I’d have Maxwell padded up and ready to go at any time,” Chappell said.

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“You have to be flexible, and you want to get him in there when it’s appropriate. I’d have Smith at three, but if you get 100 off the first ten overs or something like that, then you start to think about Maxwell ahead of Smith.

“But if an early wicket falls, Smith’s the guy likely to bat the 20 overs. Maxwell’s an explosive player, he’s different in that he can come in straight away and start going bang, bang, bang. If he faces 30, 40 balls then he could make a hundred. So you don’t need to have him in the top three for him to get a big score.”

Chappell also defended the patchy form of David Warner, who has struggled recently and was dropped by his IPL franchise, and who scored just one run off seven balls in Australia’s warm-up loss to India.

“You’ve got to start the tournament with him and if he continues to struggle you’d think about changing it,” Chappell said.

“But he’s the type of player that as soon as you put him in matches that count, I reckon chances are he’s more likely to make runs there than in some practice match.”

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