Australia’s chief selector George Bailey has defended Mitchell Starc’s exclusion from the playing XI for their clash against Afghanistan in the Super 12 stage of the ongoing T20 World Cup. Starc was surprisingly dropped from the XI in favor of Kane Richardson. Requiring Australia to win by a huge margin to keep their semi-final hopes alive. Afghanistan eventually came very close to the target of 169 which Australia had set and lost the game by just four runs. As a result, Australia failed to overhaul England’s net run rate and were eliminated from the competition. George Bailey said that Starc’s dwindling numbers at the death was the primary reason for his exclusion in the XI.

George Bailey said –

“It was a little bit around his death bowling. Due to the fact that we were bringing in Cameron Green who can work really well through the middle and I think he did the other night, it was about attacking a little earlier.”

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“We’ve been pretty consistent with using Patty and Josh through the powerplays and that meant we were going to use them a little earlier, then move up the middle with the ‘jumps’ (leg spinner Adam Zampa). For. It was a tactical decision, it was a match-up decision. People can make it what they will – and clearly are.

George Bailey also defended captain Aaron Finch’s contribution with the bat.

“To be clear, just because someone’s not in an XI, it doesn’t mean we think they’re not a good player. It doesn’t remove the fact of whatever they might have done for Australia in the past. Unfortunately you can only pick 11.”

Bailey also defended captain Aaron Finch‘s contribution with the bat, despite the fact that he finished the tournament with the highest average (53.50) by an Australian batsman. Finch’s strike rate in the tournament was just 110.30 and his innings especially against Sri Lanka where he scored an unbeaten 31 off 42 balls came under suspicion despite Australia winning that game.