Cameron Green remains firmly in the thoughts of Australia’s selectors for the T20 World Cup with the upcoming IPL to play a role in how they put together the final squad ahead of the tournament in June.
Green has been left out of the two T20I series against West Indies and New Zealand to prioritise red-ball preparation for the Tests against the latter – which will include a Sheffield Shield outing for Western Australia against Tasmania next week – but he could yet feature in the World Cup.
He will return to IPL in late March, where he has been traded to Royal Challengers Bangalore from Mumbai Indians, and performances in that competition could still sway the selectors.
“Yeah, very firmly,” national selector George Bailey said when asked if Green was still in the frame. “We know he’s going to go to the IPL and getting a big batch of T20 cricket in. It’s a constant conversation with multi-format players, working out the priority at any given time, and making sure they get what they need but he’s certainly one whose name I think, as we are finalising that 15 for the World Cup, will be firmly in the mix.”
Green made his mark at the top of the order in T20Is shortly before the previous World Cup in 2022 when he hammered two rapid half-centuries against India. He was then elevated into Australia’s squad when Josh Inglis was injured although only played once in that tournament, in the final match against Afghanistan.
He did not feature in any of Australia’s eight T20Is last year with the priority given to Tests and ODIs. Green endured a challenging 2023 across formats after his first IPL stint, struggling for runs in Tests before losing his place at the end of the Ashes and only having a bit-part role in ODIs which included suffering a concussion against South Africa when he’d been earmarked for a run at No. 4.
He has since returned to the Test side in a new role at No. 4 amid the post-David Warner batting reshuffle, which has seen Steven Smith move to open. Three innings against West Indies brought a top score of 42 and he’ll get another chance in that position against New Zealand with selectors happy to play the long game.
“There’s a skill set there that’s unbelievable across all three formats,” Bailey said. “[We’re] really confident that just continuing to expose him he’ll get better and better and learn more about his game.
“But like any player, I don’t think it’s going to be a straight line – there’ll be fluctuations throughout, as there always is. His last two years have been a whirlwind, I imagine, at different times. He’s travelled with the team basically non-stop.
“It’s a challenge that all those players do go through, but I guess when you are younger and you get exposed to that, it can be tough. But I’m sure if you ask Cam he wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Like for Green, the IPL could play a part in who takes the final pace-bowling slot in the T20 World Cup squad although Nathan Ellis‘ skills at the death currently have him at the head of the queue, meaning T20 player of the year Jason Behrendorff has a challenge to get in with Sean Abbott also likely to be squeezed out.
Behrendorff will face West Indies but is not part of the New Zealand tour. Ellis was due to feature in both but has been withdrawn from the West Indies games as he continues to recover from a rib injury sustained late in the BBL. Behrendorff has an IPL deal with Mumbai Indians while Ellis is with Punjab Kings. Spencer Johnson, who was one of the big-money signings at the auction, will feature for Gujarat Titans.
Behrendorff has developed his death bowling to the extent that he was Australia’s second-most economical bowler in that phase last year, behind Ben Dwarshuis who played just two games, conceding 8.51, while Ellis went for 10.90 although he did send down more than double the number of deliveries.
“It’s not necessarily who’s in front, it’s more the roles you are looking for them to fill,” Bailey said. “Working through the what ifs and what skillsets you want to prioritise if something happens to another player, where you’ve got cover and what you need to make sure you have access to.
“Nathan’s skills at the death are fantastic, think we have some great new-ball bowlers there. Can’t fault the work that Jason Behrendorff’s done over the past 12-18 months and his ability to add to his game…the ability to be able to now bowl through the middle and at the death is really impressive so he’s another one who is really putting their hand up.
“Again, it’s just trying to get that balance of how we can get some information through these next six games and which guys will be getting an opportunity in India in the IPL which we’ll obviously be watching really closely.”