Fast-finishing bowler still wanted

AUSTRALIA’s chief Twenty20 strategists, George Bailey and Mickey Arthur, have admitted frustration at their inability to find a fast bowler who can be relied on to thwart opponents’ fast finishes.

Captain Bailey said Australia’s expensive finish with the ball – it conceded 80 runs from its last seven overs on Monday night at the MCG – was pivotal in both Twenty20 losses to Sri Lanka over the past week.

”It certainly hurt us because we’d been very good up until then. They’re contrasting finishes, the way they bowled to us in Sydney and our last four overs. That’s probably the gap between the best team in the world in Twenty20 and the seventh best, or whatever we are,” he said.

”There’s a huge opportunity there for a bowler to step up, not only for Twenty20. If a bowler can step up and nail their Twenty20 stuff, I think they’d almost walk into our one-day side as well. If I was a bowler that’d have to be a huge source of excitement … to be working towards.”

The bowler who suffered the most punishment in both matches was Tasmania’s Ben Laughlin. Bailey said the 30-year-old had been selected in the expectation he would ”nail his death stuff and be hard to hit through the middle with his change-ups” but he did not guarantee Laughlin would be retained for the season-ending Twenty20 match against the West Indies in Brisbane on February 13.

”He’s got a great amount of variation but … if you’re not putting the ball where you want them at this level certainly you’ll be made to pay,” Bailey said of Laughlin.

”I still think Benny has the skills to do it, so it’s nice that he’s had a look at international level and knows what he has to go away and work on, or find a way to relax so he can execute as well as he did in the domestic stuff.”

Bailey’s declaration that he was ”really happy” with the composition of Australia’s Twenty20 squad was echoed by head coach Arthur, who said selectors had taken notice of Big Bash League form by selecting the likes of Laughlin, James Faulkner and Ben Cutting to complement entrenched fast bowler Mitch Starc.

”It [bowling at the death] is a problem for us and it’s something that we’re looking to solve pretty quickly. We need to get some answers. We work fairly hard on it. We’ve just got to identify guys who can do it consistently for us,” Arthur said.

”We thought we’d picked some really good death bowlers. The [statistics] from BBL shows that they were the best – and they still are.

”The [newer] guys have seen what the level is. We had pretty much a BBL all-stars’ side playing. We took the best of the BBL and gave them opportunity here,” Arthur said.

”I think they’ve seen what the difference is between being successful at a domestic level and then trying to be able to do it at international level. We’ve been short in that department.”

Despite Bailey admitting the problem with bowling at the death, the captain, who is also a selector, predicted there would be few squad changes for the one-off match against the West Indies to be held after the one-day series.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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