Matthew Hayden has called for an overhaul of Australia’s Twenty20 team, claiming selectors must follow the same ruthless approach as two decades ago to regenerate the side.
The post-mortem of Australia’s World Cup exit continued on Tuesday, with chief selector George Bailey defending several calls including the one to drop Mitchell Starc against Afghanistan.
Australia do not play another T20 until August, and selectors will first turn their eye to a one-day World Cup and Test Championship.
But for Hayden, significant changes must be made.
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The former opening batsman pointed to the shock axing of Steve and Mark Waugh from ODIs in 2002 as a model, which came just years after the 1999 success.
Matthew Wade and Aaron Finch headline the names unlikely to be there come the 2024 T20 World Cup, but nine of Australia’s 15-man squad were aged over 30.
“There has to be some freshness,” Hayden said. “One of the great strengths of Australian cricket has been its ability to be able to recognise when to make that gear change into a different playing roster.
“A little bit like Mark Waugh giving way to someone like myself after World Cup campaigns, it’s always been quite ruthless in preparing for the next World Cup.
“They are the premium events that everyone across the world plans for. And Australia unfortunately just didn’t get it right.”
Hayden is still part of this World Cup as Pakistan’s batting coach, but on Tuesday added to the chorus of confusion over Australia’s decision to drop Starc in the last group game.
“Strategically not playing Mitchell Starc, our premium bowler, ahead of that game was really significant as well,” Hayden said.
His comments came as Bailey defended the move, arguing Australia’s need to win big meant they planned on bowling Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood for longer up front.
He reasoned Australia therefore needed the depth bowling of Kane Richardson, with Cameron Green bowling middle overs while replacing the injured Finch.
Bailey and coach Andrew McDonald have since copped strong criticism, with Shane Watson going as far as to say they deserved to be put under the microscope.
“Every time an Australian team goes into a major series or tournament … the expectations are very high,” Bailey said.
“We’re disappointed we’re not taking part from this point on in the semis.
“Specifically to Starcy … It was a tactical decision, it was a match-up decision.
“People can make of that what they will. And they are.”
Bailey also denied he and coaches had needlessly tinkered with the team in the lead-up to the tournament.
He also defended Finch playing through as captain, reasoning he became Australia’s anchor as he averaged 53.5 with the bat.
“I thought he played well and has bought himself time (to decide his future),” Bailey said.
“People were judging the batsmanship and not the overall leadership and captaincy package and the disruption that would have caused if you shifted.”