Watson: Windies T20s vital
This week's Twenty20 series against West Indies is crucial to Australia's World Twenty20 hopes says Shane Watson.
Last Updated: 26/03/12 1:43pm
This week's Twenty20 series against West Indies is crucial to Australia's preparation for the World Twenty20 later this year according to Shane Watson.
The new-look Australia will be led by George Bailey in the two-match series after his surprise promotion to the captaincy earlier this year.
But after the series, which begins in St Lucia on Tuesday, Australia are scheduled to play only three more Twenty20s against Pakistan before the tournament begins on September 18.
Bailey had not even played for Australia before captaining them to a 1-1 series draw against India last month.
And, with a much-changed team in his control, he has little time to prepare for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
"This is very important. For us to continue to develop the team, especially with George in charge," said Watson.
"We have to try and find our roles in the teams, how we're going to play, how we're are going to balance the whole team in general.
"This will definitely be a big stepping stone heading into that Twenty20 World Cup."
Australia's current teething problems were evident during the five-match one-day international series, which the tourists' levelled with a 30-run win in St Lucia yesterday.
Consistency was a major issue, highlighted even in yesterday's success, when Windies skipper Darren Sammy almost pulled off an unlikely win with a whirlwind 84 off 50 balls after his side had crashed to 118 for seven.
"We need to execute our skills that little bit better," Watson continued. "That's something we need to work on. We're at a stage where we look like we're cruising okay and then things change quite quickly.
"It's happened since I've come back into this Australian team over the last 10 games. It's something we certainly need to work on.
"This is a learning curve for all of us. There's been a turnover in players. We are still trying to find the balance of what we need to win games."
Australia hold a 3-2 win-loss record against West Indies in Twenty20 internationals, the last of which saw Australia claim a six-wicket win at St Lucia during the 2010 World Twenty20.
And after a closely-fought ODI series, Watson is expecting little to change:
"They've got a very good T20 side," he said. "The way they can hit the ball and their skills and a lot of their guys play in the IPL. I think it's going to continue to be a great series."
West Indies have recalled all-rounder Dwayne Smith for the series as well as left-arm medium-pacer Krishmar Santokie, the leading wicket-taker in the recent Caribbean T20, Fidel Edwards, Garey Mathurin and Nkrumah Bonner.
Adrian Barath, Tino Best, Kemar Roach and Devendra Bishoo miss out from the ODI squad.
Australia could give a debut to wicketkeeper Peter Nevill after Matthew Wade's heavy collision with team-mate Ben Hilfenhaus in the field yesterday.