Win T20 World Cup & Ashes, or face major shake-up: Gilchrist warns Aussies

Dubai: Former Australian wicketkeeper-batter Adam Gilchrist feels these are uncertain times for his side, and that there could be a major “shake-up” if the Aaron Finch-led side fails in the ICC T20 World Cup — currently underway in the UAE and Oman — or the Tim Paine-led Test side is unable to perform at home in the Ashes.

Australia are currently in seventh spot on the ICC T20 rankings, having been beaten by Bangladesh 4-1 in the recent T20 series. The Test side too is under pressure after a depleted India beat Australia in their backyard.

“There are a number of positions at stake,” Gilchrist told SEN’s Whateley on Wednesday. “Anyone could see the winter of discontent for Australian cricket and particularly (coach) Justin (Langer), his much documented relationship with the team.

“I don’t think people would be overly accepting of just getting to the (ICC T20 World Cup) semifinals and getting knocked over easily.

“They’ve got to make an impression on this tournament. That, and then the Ashes (in December-January). If the Ashes aren’t retained at a minimum, if not won, there’ll be a few positions up for grabs, a few senior players, because it would mean they haven’t performed. And Justin’s position will come under the microscope even further,” opined Gilchrist.

Gilchrist was part of the Australian team that lost to India in the inaugural T20 World Cup semifinal in South Africa in 2007. In the five editions since, Australia have made just one final and a semifinal.

“For some reason, we haven’t been able to do it in Twenty20 cricket consistently, but there’s been a whole lot of historical reasons for that. Not picking the best team, resting players and not having a rhythm up,” felt Gilchrist.

But the legend, a veteran of 96 Tests and 287 ODIs, feels that there are several factors indicating the team will go the distance this time around.

“They have the skills in that group of 15 players to be able to threaten for this tournament, (and) the conditions, while subcontinental, are relatively neutral. (With) the Indian Premier Leagues that have been played there, they’ve all played a lot of cricket in the United Arab Emirates now. So as long as they’ve got the atmosphere and the change room feeling right in the little bubble they’re in, which has been challenging, what we’ve read about lately.

“And I suspect all coming in pretty fresh, they’ve given themselves every chance now to be able to get that right,” added Gilchrist.

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