AUSTRALIA’S top cricketers are preparing to take on tough competition in Australia’s most competitive league as they prepare for their first ODI match in 18 months.
Key points:Cricket Australia chairman Peter Hands said the team had a chance to shine in Australia in 2019After an encouraging 2017, a series of injuries and the resignation of the club’s head coach, Cricket Australia has a chance of making it back into the Ashes Test sideIn Australia, the game is more than just the players and the fansBut the spotlight will be on the players on Saturday, when they face the Melbourne Renegades in the second ODI in Sydney, the only ODI of the series.
“I think there is a good chance we can show what we are capable of, and it is a great opportunity for us to show what the game can be,” Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft said.
Bancrofts is one of the stars of the new Australian side that will be hoping to make a return to the Ashes.
The 20-year-old was part of the Queensland side that beat England in the opening Test of the ODI series last year.
He had to retire early in the first innings after sustaining a concussion and is now recovering at home after undergoing an operation to repair a broken arm.
“It was just one of those situations where you don’t want to go out on the pitch, you want to be ready to go,” Bancrot said.
“If we can do that and get that one-day record out of the way, I think we can go to Sydney and show the world that we can play a great game, we can be very dangerous.”
Bancrot, who was part-time captain of the NSW Blues, has also represented Queensland in the World Twenty20.
His inclusion in the team for Saturday’s match is another indication of how influential he is in the dressing room.
Brisbane Lions star Shane Watson is also one of Bancros playing side, but has been sidelined since the World Cup with a hip injury.
The other players are all well known in Australia and their performances have helped to build the team’s confidence, with Watson being named the club captain last year and James Pattinson being named as the leading run-scorer.
Backsman Scott Borthwick-Jackson is another star in the new side, who is also in the Australian side’s starting line-up.
Borthwick has been one of Australia’s best players in the two Tests that the two teams played last year, with the 27-year old averaging more than 30 in all three matches.
His presence in the starting line will help make the difference in the match, with Borthwicks batting partner Alex Hales, who also played for the NSW side, a favourite to score runs.
“Scott is the most important part of that side, because he is playing the right way,” Borthsons captain, Shane Watson, said.
A key part of their batting, the Lions have also won four of the last five Ashes series, winning the first Test in Perth last year with an innings of four-for-four.
“We know what we can achieve in a couple of weeks’ time, so we are ready to get in there and play,” Watson said.
Cricketers from both sides will be looking to take a record for consecutive games played in Sydney against a team that has not won a Test match since the second Test in Brisbane.