T20 World Cup 2024: Australia bid to become champions of all three formats

A number of players have been given a rest following the conclusion of the IPL

Mitch Marsh, left, will be leading Australia at the T20 World Cup, which starts this weekend. Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

The T20 World Cup begins this weekend and it promises to be a unique event.

The showpiece takes place in the Caribbean and the US – the first time the World Cup will be hosted in North America – with a total of 20 teams participating in an expanded tournament.

The International Cricket Council is looking to spread the game in the United States with the country also set to host the 2028 Olympics where cricket has been included on the roster.

The format of this World Cup will be slightly different, with the 20 teams divided into four groups of five, with the top two from each group progressing to the Super Eights, then the semi-finals and final.

However, what will not be unique is Australia once again being one of the favourites at an ICC event.

The Aussies are the reigning World Test champions. They also stunned home favourites India during the ODI World Cup late last year in the final in Ahmedabad to lift the 50-overs title. And if they win the T20 World Cup on June 29, they will hold all three world titles at the same time, becoming the undisputed champions of cricket.

No team has been T20, ODI and Test world champions at the same time, but captain Mitchell Marsh is adamant it is too early to think about such a lofty achievement.

"There's so many things you have to get through at a World Cup before you even get a crack at that, so that's probably for the external noise outside of what we are trying to do as a group," he said.

"But the carrot is there."

By the looks of it, Australia have all the resources to go for glory. They will be captained by all-rounder Marsh, surprisingly not by the talismanic Pat Cummins, with the core of their ODI World Cup winning team retained.

David Warner and Travis Head are set to open with Marsh at first drop, with Tim David and Glenn Maxwell the big-hitting finishers.

Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood will lead the attack alongside wrist spinner Adam Zampa.

Opening batsman Head, all-rounder Cummins and fast bowler Starc had an excellent stint in the recently concluded Indian Premier League and are among the six names given a rest after their recent exertions in the T20 league, the other being Marcus Stoinis, Maxwell and Cameron Green.

However, it has resulted in a distorted build-up to the World Cup. Australia's first warm-up game started in bizarre circumstances on Tuesday when the team only had nine players available to take on Namibia, forcing a selector and a coach to take the field.

Two other coaches also had to go on as substitute fielders in a game that the Australians won by seven wickets at Trinidad’s Queen’s Park Oval.

After restricting Namibia to 119-9, Australia scored 123-3 in 10 overs with veteran opener Warner finishing 54 not out.

Chief selector George Bailey, 41, and 46-year-old fielding coach Andre Borovec were on the field in unmarked shirts after Australia captain Marsh won the toss.

Later, Cricket Australia reported that Bailey and Borovec were joined by batting coach Brad Hodge, who is 49, and head coach Andrew McDonald, who will turn 43 next week, when Marsh and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood spent time off the field.

Australia will likely also be shorthanded for their second warm-up game against West Indies on Thursday at the same venue.

“Obviously, we didn’t have a full quota of players but the guys who played, probably a few of us needed to coming off a big layoff,” Hazlewood, who took two wickets, told the Cricket Australia website. “I know a number of the bowlers were coming off a long break, which is pretty unusual in our system, but it’s good to get out there. Playing is always different to training."

Updated: May 29, 2024, 7:45 AM