Australia will warm up for the Twenty20 World Cup with a three-match series against South Africa, beginning Sunday in Port Elizabeth.
Playing a format renowned for feted freelancers, Australia’s cricketers crave solidarity more than superstardom as they march toward this month’s Twenty20 World Cup.
George Bailey’s men begin a three-match T20 series against South Africa on Sunday in Port Elizabeth, then fly to Bangladesh for the only major silverware to elude Australia.
Two weeks after their opening T20 clash with the Proteas, Australia’s World Cup campaign begins against Pakistan in Dhaka.
Much like the three-hour game, there’s scant time to achieve much.
Topping Bailey’s wishlist is the same sense of camaraderie that has been a hallmark of the Test team’s turnaround under Darren Lehmann.
It’s not as if the squad is full of cliques and egos, more that Australia’s best T20 cricketers haven’t actually gathered in camp since the 2012 World Cup.
“The biggest challenge for the T20 group has always been to build a sense of team and get a bit of continuation in what you talk about,” Bailey told AAP, noting a single Test lasts a long as some T20 series.
“The games against South Africa will be important, but it will be really valuable for us to just spend some time together and nut out our roles.
“Specifically discuss how we want to play in Bangladesh.”
Opener Aaron Finch recalls when he was taught T20 gameplans that amounted to “‘turn up, try and whack a few and see how we go”.
Cynics suggest there is still little more to the game.
Lehmann, who won IPL and BBL titles with the Deccan Chargers and Brisbane Heat respectively, is not among them.
The mastercoach is a firm believer in togetherness, and a backer of those who put team first.
“Everyone has to be pulling in the one direction. It’s a game that goes astray pretty quickly,” Finch told AAP.
“That was laid on the line before our England series.
“It’s not negotiable. You do your job, otherwise you’re out.”
Australia’s recent 3-0 T20 series win over England came despite the absence of Test players.
Mitchell Johnson is being rested from the T20 series in South Africa, but fellow Test stars David Warner, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin are all likely to be in the XI at St George’s Park.
“They’re all ripe and ready to play,” Bailey said of the trio, who were rested from the side’s first training session at the venue.