'Hard for anyone to stop us': Maxwell backs Australia's best to be 'good enough'
In no small part is that down to the calibre of players returning to action for Australia at the showpiece event.
It’s been eight months since any of Steve Smith, David Warner or Pat Cummins played for Australia and six months since Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis or Kane Richardson featured.
All six will be involved in Australia’s quest for a maiden Men’s T20 World Cup Trophy, as will captain Aaron Finch, who missed the series loss against Bangladesh through injury.
There’s no doubt Australia has a stronger squad with the seven experienced stars back in the mix, and if the team is to go deep in the tournament you suspect members within this group will have to play a big role.
And while it’s been a long time since they’ve all been together – and for the bulk of them a long time since they’ve played competitive cricket anywhere – Maxwell is confident they’ll hit the ground running. With a team chock-full of match winners, he believes it “will be hard for anyone to stop us” if Australia take their chances.
“I think they’re very good,” Maxwell told icc-cricket.com of Australia’s hopes at the T20 World Cup. “When this team comes together, I think we’ll slip straight back into us being in a great position. We’re all looking forward to it.”
With one of T20I cricket’s most intimidating opening pairs in Finch and Warner, a flexible and talented middle-order featuring himself and Steve Smith, and an all-star attack, Maxwell is confident that Australia’s best is good enough to take them all the way.
“You look through our line-up, we’ve got a team full of match winners and guys that on their day can take the game away from the opposition. I think that’s what it’s going to take. Any day when it’s one of our players’ chance to go and win us a game – if we can take that (chance) it’s going to be hard for anyone to stop us.”
The need for their match-winners to make the most of their chances is added incentive for the Australians to hit the ground running in the United Arab Emirates.
“The key for us to win a T20 World Cup this year is to get off to a fast start,” he said. “Teams that can get off to a good start early in the tournament, get a couple of players on fire, get a couple of batters in good form, and get a couple of bowlers taking early wickets, that is the key to a lot of teams winning these tournaments.”
The Australians have been drawn in a tough group alongside champions West Indies, world No.1 England and the always dangerous South Africa. It makes for a daunting set of fixtures but Maxwell knows that however the groups had been drawn, the Australians were going to have to be at their best to progress.
“There are no weak teams in this World Cup and we know that. We know we’ve also got a very good chance of beating everyone on our day.
“Both groups are going to be tough, it doesn’t matter. As I said before there are no weak teams in this World Cup so every game is going to be tough for us.
“If we play our best, I feel that’s going to be good enough on the day. I think we’ll be focussing solely on what we can do every game and hopefully, that is good enough at the end of the day”
Boding in Australia’s favour will be the resumption of the IPL in the United Arab Emirates prior to the T20 World Cup, giving a number of their stars the chance to fine-tune their games.
Maxwell, Warner, Smith and Stoinis are all set to feature in the second half of the IPL before pulling on national colours next month.
“The fact we’ve got a lot of guys going over for the IPL as a preparation, get a few games in those conditions, it’s going to do wonders for our batters. Our bowlers are going to be up and firing by the time the tournament starts,” Maxwell said. “I can assure you everyone is looking forward to hitting the ground running over there.”
And he expects the shift of the tournament from India to the UAE and Oman will have an added benefit for all 16 teams.
“The tournament being in UAE probably levels the playing field a little bit. Probably makes it a little bit easier for there not to be as much of a home ground advantage.
“For the IPL to be there to have a lot of international players that are potentially going to be in that World Cup over there playing, I think it’s probably levelled the playing field a fair bit.”
Australia will begin their campaign on 23 October against South Africa.