Australia’s vice-captain, David Warner, has labelled as “very, very poor” the scheduling decision that will lead to Australia playing a Twenty20 international at home the day before they begin a Test series in India.
The Test players will have a long preparation for the first Test in Pune, spending up to two weeks training on spinning pitches at the ICC Academy in Dubai before heading to India for a warm-up game in Mumbai. However, while the Test players are acclimatising in Asia, a T20 team will be representing Australia in three internationals at home against Sri Lanka.
The T20s take place in Melbourne, Geelong and Adelaide on February 17, 19 and 22, and the first Test in India begins on February 23. That means several members of Australia’s first-choice T20 side – including Warner, captain Steven Smith, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Starc – will be unable to play in the T20s, while others such as Glenn Maxwell could yet find themselves in the Test squad too.
“Scheduling is obviously Cricket Australia’s area,” Warner said in an interview with Fox Sports. “They play the big role in putting that on. For me, it’s about going out there and playing the game and not worrying too much about that. In saying that, it is very, very poor scheduling. To have your Test team going away to play a Test match… it doesn’t make any sense to us.
“I don’t like it. Those of us who are part of the T20 team have a bigger goal and bigger picture, and that is to win a World Cup. You want to be putting your best team on the park all the time. At the end of the day, you’ve got Big Bash and IPL.
“If me, Smithy, Starcy, Ussy, Shaun Marsh — all these guys that are in the Australian T20 team from the previous World Cup — if we are not playing any T20 cricket in Australia where the next World Cup is meant to be, it becomes quite a tough thing for selectors to work around. We have one-day stuff where you can put your foot down and prove some things, but for me it’s about playing my best in any of the three formats that you play.”
A World T20 is scheduled to be held in Australia in 2020, but there remains the possibility of an event in 2018 as well. Australia are yet to win a World T20 title, having only once made the final, when they were runners-up to England in 2010.