Questionable team selections hangs over Australia’s failed World Twenty20 campaign as much as poor shot selection and shoddy fielding.
But the decision to snub specialist spinners for Tuesday’s dead rubber against Bangladesh was the right call, according to destructive opener Aaron Finch.
Despite spinners dominating the short-form tournament, and spinners from India, Pakistan and the West Indies generating great purchase from the Dhaka wicket that hosted all of Australia’s games, coach Darren Lehmann opted against playing either veteran left-armer Brad Hogg or rising young legspinner James Muirhead.
It was a curious decision that brought the ire of Australia’s legspinning great Shane Warne.
Warne, who worked with the Australian team as a spin consultant in the lead-up to the World T20 and who was in the stands in his capacity as a TV commentator, was clearly bemused at Muirhead’s absence.
“Aust not playing a specialist spinner! Strange decision,” he tweeted during Bangladesh’s innings.
“Why not persist with a 20 year old leggie who spins it?”
But Finch said the proof was in the pudding, with recalled paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile claiming two wickets, while fellow quicks Doug Bollinger, Shane Watson and Mitchell Starc took one apiece.
“The side that we picked tonight was probably more horses for courses,” Finch said.
“Bangladesh are very good players of spin and in these conditions they probably haven’t been exposed to the pace as often.
“I think that that was absolutely the right decision to make.
“Both our leg-spinners are very attacking, in Hogg and Muirhead, so if that doesn’t work it becomes a situation where you don’t really have much to fall back on.
“I think the way that we went with the pace tonight in Starc, Coulter-Nile, Watson, (allrounder Dan) Christian and Bollinger, I think that was absolutely the right move.”
Doubts have also surfaced about the balance of group that was picked, with chairman of selectors John Inverarity forced to defend the 15-man squad.
The decision to include veteran pair Brad Hodge and Hogg also backfired, with neither providing any meaningful contribution across the four games.