Marnus Labuschagne says it is “astonishing” and “hard to fathom” that Australia will play India in a Twenty20 match just four days after the ODI World Cup final.
Labuschagne and seven other members of Australia’s triumphant World Cup squad arrived home on Wednesday, ready to rest before preparing for the Test summer. Less rest awaits, though, for the other seven members of the winning squad.
Australia are due to face India in a T20 match in Visakhapatnam on Thursday night, after days of celebrating their Sunday’s ODI World Cup win over the same team.
Images of Travis Head’s celebrations in particular have gone viral, with the player of the final appearing in several photos on social media as recently as Tuesday night in India.
Mitch Marsh quipped on return to Australia on Wednesday that it would “be a miracle” if Head played in the first T20, while Pat Cummins also jested about the batter’s chances. Jokes aside, the situation does highlight the issues with cricket’s seriously congested calendar.
“We had pretty much two days of celebrating, which was nice. And just to really soak it up and soak in what we actually just achieved,” Labuschagne said.
“But I mean, it is astonishing that there’s another game on tomorrow. That’s hard to fathom. It’s hard to fathom how those guys are going to be playing in a day’s time.
“But that’s just the nature of the scheduling, it’s the nature of cricket at the moment. We’ve got three weeks until the first Test so guys will be freshening up, getting themselves ready for the for the next challenge.”
Up to seven of Australia’s players from the World Cup squad will play in the match, and at an absolute minimum one of the men who played on Sunday will play on Thursday.
Steve Smith is every chance of opening the batting for the first time, in the one meaningful factor of the match given he is hopeful of taking the role for next year’s T20 World Cup.
India have named only one player from their team from the World Cup final in their 15-man squad, with Suryakumar Yadav to captain the side.
Otherwise, almost none of their first-choice XI will feature.
The series is reminiscent of Australia’s three ODIs against newly-crowned T20 champions England in the immediate aftermath of last year’s short-format World Cup.
That series attracted crowds as low as 10,406 at the MCG and prompted concerns over a lack of public interest.
But at least in that instance, a near full-strength Australia had a point to prove off the back of some rest after being bundled out in the group stage of the T20 tournament.
In this case, both India and Australia are feeling the after-effects of an ODI World Cup that finished just four days earlier.