Australian cricket summer summary: A successful but not great season as bigger challenges await


Now that stumps have been called on the home summer season for the Australian men’s cricket team, it has been a success by any measure apart from a couple of hiccups. 

The Test loss at the Gabba and the dead rubber defeat in Tuesday’s final T20 clash with the Windies were the only blemishes in an otherwise dominant display. 

But with Pakistan and the Windies both in various stages of rebuilding, the Australians are well aware greater challenges await in the form of the upcoming two-Test tour of New Zealand, the mid-year T20 World Cup and next summer’s five-match blockbuster at home against India. 

Across the three formats here’s how the Australians stacked up this summer and how they’re placed for the future. 


Overall it was a good summer results wise although you could make a case that they should have won all five matches so dropping the Gabba Test to the Windies means they’ve fallen short of expectations. 

It was a weird summer in that the majority of the team didn’t perform to the high standards they demand apart from all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and supremely reliable Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. 

The way Cummins dismembered the Pakistani batting units in Melbourne and Sydney is as well as he’s ever bowled. And he’s seemingly been bowling well forever. 

But did the team overall make much progress? Not particularly. 

Usman Khawaja was solid, Marnus Labuschagne is in a dry spell, Travis Head is feast or famine and Alex Carey has been dependable without being outstanding. 

The drawn-out David Warner departure was handled with trademark procrastination by the selection panel with the decision virtually being made for them by Steve Smith surprisingly volunteering to open and no other batter wanting a bar of it. 

Steve Smith. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

His elevation allowed the selectors to trot out the “we’re picking the best six batters in the country” line although Cameron Green has not backed up that assessment in his three return innings at No.4. 

Green is too high in the order and as a steady scorer like the three batters above him, there is an imbalance in the line-up. Head and Marsh are similar in that they are vulnerable to being dismissed early with their naturally aggressive styles. 

When it comes off it’s spectacular but if Green is consistently making modest totals and those two fail to launch, the pressure builds on Carey and a long batting tail. 

The main goal is defending the World Test Championship crown, so that’s off to a reasonable start but their hopes of qualifying for next year’s final will come down to how they fare in NZ and in next summer’s showdown with India, who have beaten Australia in their past four series. 


On the back of their slightly unexpected upset win over India at Ahmedabad in the World Cup final, the ODI side is in the honeymoon period where the players, coaches and selectors can do whatever they want. 

The next World Cup is a long way away, 2027 in South Africa, but already the likes of Xavier Bartlett, Lance Morris, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Matt Short and Aaron Hardie are being given a test drive to see if they are up to code. 

And all suggestions thus far are that the kids are alright. 

Regeneration has been painfully slow in the five-day format but in the 50-over team, there is more than enough talent waiting in the wings to step up when Mitchell Starc, Glenn Maxwell, Hazlewood and Smith fade away. 

Jake Fraser-McGurk, Will Sutherland, Xavier Bartlett and Matt Short at Melbourne Cricket Ground. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Warner’s retirement has given several candidates a sniff of the vacancy at the top of the order but expect Marsh to get the first decent crack at the spot alongside Head to see if he can thrive when the ball is new. 

Bartlett’s combined 8-38 from his first two ODIs was a welcome boost to Australia’s white-ball pace stocks which are already overflowing with options like Sean Abbott and Nathan Ellis who already find it hard to get a run.  


The missing piece in the Cricket Australia trophy cabinet. 

Unlike the other two squads, the T20 side is in the final stages of its plan to complete the trifecta of trophies. 

There’s realistically probably one batting spot and the keeper’s role up for grabs in the first-choice XI with the other selection candidates jostling for positions to fill out the squad for the trip to the Caribbean in June. 

The selectors are in no great hurry, nor do they need to be, to lock in anything. They don’t seem to have arrived on a decision over who will captain the side. 

Marsh is the frontrunner but Cummins could still take it on for a hit-and-run mission while Matthew Wade remains in the mix even though it’s debatable whether he’s in their best XI. 

Glenn Maxwell switch-hits a six against West Indies at Adelaide Oval. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

Adam Gilchrist said on Fox Cricket commentary during game three of the T20 series against the Windies that he thinks Inglis is the better keeper but Wade retained the gloves when they both played. 

Wade, Smith and Marcus Stoinis are competing for the final spot in the batting order behind the retiring Warner, Head and Marsh at the top of the order with Maxwell and Tim David the designated power-hitting finishers. 

The 2-1 series win over the Windies was not a good one for Jason Behrendorff’s chances of making the squad. 

He was taken down a couple of times and his expensive figures could mean Australia’s T20 player of the year could soon be squeezed out with Spencer Johnson, Morris and Bartlett emerging from the fast bowling pack. 

When compared with the other heavyweight sides, Australia stack up well on paper heading into the Cup and such is their daunting record in major tournaments, that will be enough to send shivers down the spines of a few of their rivals for the trophy. 

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