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New selection chief will play a key role in picking squads for the T20 World Cup and Ashes

While selectors can’t score the runs or take the wickets, they do have to make the final decision on who is best placed to do so. George Bailey, Australia’s new chairman of selectors, faces a number of big judgement calls over the next 12 months that will go a long way to defining this era of the men’s team.

A team to win the T20 World Cup

It is a trophy Australia’s men’s team have never won (they will have two chances in the space of a year) and preparations for this year’s edition have been far from ideal, with the current squad in the West Indies and Bangladesh stripped of a host of key names. However, in Bailey, they have someone very much in touch with the format – he has captained Australia in 28 of his 30 T20Is and played in the BBL as recently as the 2019-2020 season. The upcoming five games in Bangladesh are a last chance for the fringe candidates to impress Bailey, who will hope he has a full hand of players to select from for the final squad. If everyone is fit and available (captain Aaron Finch will shortly have knee surgery), the key decisions will be who fills the middle-order roles and who takes the wicketkeeping gloves.

Test batting spots

Test cricket has been thin on the ground for Australia during the pandemic and there will be a lot of people with fingers crossed that the Ashes goes ahead as scheduled. Last season’s 2-1 loss to an injury-hit India left a number of question marks with the list of central contracts announced earlier this year highlighting the uncertainty over the batting. As it stands, there is at least an opener and a No. 5 needed, presuming the other spots are filled by David Warner, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Green. With Warner being 34, it could also be that it is under Bailey’s watch that his career draws to a close.

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