Lucknow, Oct 16: Former Australia bowler Brendon Julian believes the middle-order not firing is a main problem for the Pat Cummins-led side ahead of their must-win World Cup clash against Sri Lanka at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium on Monday afternoon.
Australia has lost their first two 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup matches against India and South Africa in Chennai and Lucknow respectively, putting their plans of progressing to semifinals in jeopardy. As far as their middle-order is concerned, Australia’s batters from four to seven have contributed only 109 runs collectively at an average of 13.6.
"My concern is the middle order because in 2023, they have averaged 22. They are way down compared to all other nations. We are outside the top 15 and South Africa’s middle order are averaging 49. We only have one guy who has scored a hundred in that time.”
"That’s the main problem for Australia. The middle order is not summing up the game as it is. In that first game against India, I didn’t think they needed to bat like they wanted to make 300. They should’ve ground out 240 or 250 and that gets them in the game."
"They are not sensing the certain moments of the game where they need to dig in and then put the foot down when the moment comes up. They’ve lost their rhythm and they don’t look sharp enough. Senior players need to stand up (and) make something happen,” said Julian to SEN Radio.
Julian also believes Australia’s bowling performance has suffered in the competition due to leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who hasn’t made a huge impact with his performances till now, being the only specialist spinner in the squad. Apart from him, Glenn Maxwell’s off-spin is the other spin-bowling option for Australia.
“Zampa has not been flash in this tournament and he hasn’t been flash leading into it as well. He’s averaging 61 with the ball and has only taken seven wickets this year. We don’t have a back-up spinner and I said at the start of the tournament that we needed a Tanveer Sangha or Matt Kuhnemann.”
“You don’t go to India without two spinners when every other team has two. We are lucky Maxwell is bowling well, (but) he’s not a spinner who will win a game. Zampa could do it but his confidence just isn’t there. We are going to have to rely on the quick bowlers and I think (Mitch) Starc and (Josh) Hazlewood will be the guys,” he concluded. (IANS)