Bailey: Australia could miss out on T20 World Cup

First published in Sport

Captain George Bailey fears Australia could miss out on next year's World Twenty20 as he prepares to lead an under-strength squad in a one-off match against West Indies tomorrow.

With the majority of Australia's first-choice players having already flown out to India for the upcoming Test series, Bailey – set to be Hampshire’s main overseas player for the 2013 season - has been left with a cast of novices to meet the world champions at the 'Gabba.

Ben Rohrer, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Joe Burns and Josh Hazlewood could all make their Twenty20 debuts while, startlingly, Clint McKay and Ben Laughlin are the highest wicket-takers in the squad with just two scalps each.

While Bailey understands Cricket Australia's decision to prioritise the India series, he believes it has compromised his side's chances of reaching next year's World Twenty20.

There are suggestions only six nations will automatically qualify for the tournament in Bangladesh and, with Australia currently ranked seventh, Bailey sees reason for concern.

"It's frustrating. No doubt Cricket Australia have prioritised the Test series and I don't blame them for that," he said.

"From my point of view we have seven or eight games until the next T20 World Cup.

"It does feel a little compromised on that front that we have seven or eight of our players left out.

"I have heard they are going to change the format (for the World Twenty20) - there will be a certain amount who automatically qualify.

"I have heard six and I have heard eight, and we are in that danger zone.

"So every game as a group is important - in terms of trying to maintain some structure and continuity.

"It is a really difficult one."

While Australia are under-strength they have still been able to call on some of the form players from the recent Big Bash League with Shaun Marsh, Aaron Finch and James Faulkner included.

Ex-Hampshire batsman Adam Voges, who made a match-winning unbeaten 112 to seal a one-day whitewash against West Indies earlier this week, is a doubt for the match with a hamstring problem.

West Indies thrashed Australia in their last meeting - the semi-final of last year's World Twenty20 as they went on to be crowned champions in Sri Lanka - but could be without star batsman Chris Gayle.

Gayle has not played since suffering a side injury during the third ODI although the left-hander has endured a barren recent run in Australia, including during the Big Bash League.

Whether or not Gayle plays skipper Darren Sammy has called on his side to end an otherwise miserable tour on a high.

"We have to come and play like true champions. We are the world champions and we want to showcase our skills and show the people of Australia what we have," Sammy said.

"We did the job very well in Sri Lanka last year. The last time we played against Australia in this format we completely outplayed them so that is the kind of motivation we will carry into the match.

"The people over here in Australia have been very supportive of us and we have not demonstrated our very best cricket for them to see, so we want to give them something special before we head back home."

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