Australia had two primary objectives leading into the recent white-ball tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh – generate some much-needed momentum ahead of the T20 World Cup and fill the gaps in its 15-player squad.
But after registering a fifth consecutive T20 series defeat, the Australian side has never looked more vulnerable.
Australia was bowled out for 62 on a deteriorating pitch at Dhaka’s Shere Bangla National Stadium overnight, with only two batters scoring more than four runs against Bangladesh.
Matthew Wade’s side was rolled in just 13.4 overs, making it Australia’s shortest innings in 144 years of international cricket.
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The record-breaking collapse ends a miserable white-ball tour for Justin Langer’s men, in which Australia lost eight of their 10 T20 matches against the West Indies and Bangladesh.
Bangladesh had never defeated Australia in the game’s short format before last Tuesday, but has since achieved the feat four times in six days.
Reuters journalist Kanishka Raj Singh tweeted: “As a lifelong fan of Australia, I can‘t recollect a more embarrassing team. These players don’t deserve to wear Australia’s jersey.”
Their next challenge is the coveted T20 World Cup, the only ICC trophy Australia has never lifted apart from the newly-introduced World Test Championship.
Needless to say, Australia’s chances of claiming the title look reasonably slim, particularly when glancing at who they’ll come up against in the group stage.
The Aussies will face reigning T20 World Cup champions the West Indies, 50-over world champions England and a talented South African outfit, who currently sit above Australia on the ICC rankings.
To make matters worse, the T20 tournament will be played in similar conditions to Dhaka, with matches scheduled in sub-continent nations the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
The one silver lining Australian cricket fans can celebrate is the timely resurgence of West Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh.
The younger Marsh brother was Australia’s highest run-scorer against the West Indies and Bangladesh, accumulating 375 runs at a commendable average of 37.50 and strike rate of 115.61.
But apart from Marsh, Australia’s batting over the past few weeks would at best be described as woefully average.