The balance between the Big Bash League and the national side leads to an imbalance in the batting order. Players groomed as the next finisher for Australia have come in the top-order during the Big Bash, leaving them unexposed to the death overs when they come to the national side. Glenn Maxwell, for instance, bats lower down the order for Australia but bats higher up in the Big Bash. Marcus Stoinis is another example that opens for his T20 franchise but bats in the middle-order for Australia.
Australia has an excellent top three, with Warner, Finch, and Steve Smith fixing their spots. They have someone like Marnus Labuschagne, who bats in the top three as well, leaving the middle-order spots vacant. Since the 2016 World Cup, Australia played 25 batters in the middle-order. Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell have decent numbers, but there are still some spots vacant. Alex Carey had a proper rope but isn’t a sure starter after changing his batting position in the Big Bash.
Below are a few options for the middle-order spots:
With Alex Carey seemingly out of the picture, Wade will be donning the gloves for the time being. Wade, however, has spent most of his time opening the batting and will have to adapt to a middle-order spot with no place at the top. In case he doesn’t perform in the middle-order, Australia will have to look at other options. They have Josh Philippe, Alex Carey, and Josh Inglis as back-ups, but most have spent their time opening in the Big Bash.
Glenn Maxwell is a sure starter for the World Cup and will likely bat at number four. Anything lower than four may waste his talent. He is not on the side for the West Indies tour, and the tour may be an audition for those who are likely to join the middle-order with him.
Marcus Stoinis is another player who is not playing West Indies but is a competitor for the middle-order spot. He is already a regular on the side, but consistency and fitness have been issues. He is another player who is out of place, as he started as a top-order player in domestic Cricket. He is a handy bowler and has decent numbers but is far from Australia’s solution.
Although Alex Carey is doubtful about the middle-order spot, he remains an option. He has struggled to adapt down the order, but with Australia struggling to find a finisher, Carey could help, considering Wade doesn’t meet the requirements.
At the age of 38, Dan Christian has made a surprise re-entry into the national squad. He hasn’t played international Cricket in over four years, but a brilliant big-bash season got him back into the side. With the World Cup coming up, Christian has given himself an outside chance of making the squad. He has an advantage over the other middle-order candidates, as he is a proper middle-order batter. He knows how to finish games and is a handy bowler as well. Dan Christian also has the backing of Aaron Finch and is a likely starter for the squad.
Mitchell Marsh has done well in the last two seasons and is good with both the bat and ball. He has been in and around the squad for a while but hasn’t converted his stats from domestic Cricket to international Cricket. He is another player who sticks to the middle-order and has the experience of finishing games.
Josh Inglis is another wicket-keeper who isn’t in the squad but is making some noise. He is doing well in the T20 Blast and has done well in the Big Bash League. He has done well both up and down the order and is a decent player of spin, which could play in his favor.