Australian chief selector George Bailey on Mitchell Starc’s exclusion against Afghanistan

Australian chief selector George Bailey has defended pace spearhead Mitchell Starc’s omission from their final ICC T20 World Cup 2022 Super 12 fixture last week. Starc was benched for that all-important clash and he was replaced by Kane Richardson. The Aussies needed to beat the Afghans by a huge margin in order to keep their title defence hopes alive.

Justifying the reason behind the left-arm quick’s exclusion for that match, Bailey mentioned that his death bowling numbers were not up to the mark and that the step was taken keeping that fact in mind.

It was a tactical decision: George Bailey

“It was a little bit around his death bowling. Due to the fact we were bringing Cameron Green in who can do a really good job through the middle and I think he did the other night, it was about attacking a bit earlier”, said George Bailey as quoted by a cricket news website.

“We’ve been pretty consistent with using Patty and Josh through the Powerplay and it meant we were going to look to use them a little earlier, then to push through the middle with ‘Zamps’ (leg-spinner Adam Zampa). It was a tactical decision, it was a match-up decision. People can make of that what they will – and clearly are”, he added.

“To be clear, just because someone’s not in an XI, it doesn’t mean we think they’re not a good player. It doesn’t remove the fact of whatever they might have done for Australia in the past. Unfortunately you can only pick 11”, he further added.

Irrespective of the calculative approach, the Aussies failed to bowl Afghanistan out cheaply while defending 169 as they got out of a corner with a narrow four-run victory. The Asian side reeled at 99/5 in the 14th over and seemed to be losing their way in a tough chase before Rashid Khan’s blistering knock of an unbeaten 48 runs off 23 balls brought them dangerously close to the target.

Though Australia registered a win to earn two valuable points, it was not enough prolong their title reign as they were knocked out of the competition after England defeated Sri Lanka to ensure their second spot finish behind New Zealand in the group.