The move away from Steve Smith for the early part of Australia’s T20 World Cup defence has put the spotlight on his replacement Tim David, who already has significant fans.
National selection chief George Bailey ended any speculation about the position of Smith, who was part of Australia’s World Cup winning team in Dubai last year, ahead of the defending champions’ opening clash with New Zealand this Saturday.
While Smith could yet play a role in the defence, he’s not going to be playing the Kiwis.
“I think all the members of our 15 have a role to play, but I don‘t think that will be starting in the XI for Steve,” Bailey said.
“I think that should we need a role from him at some stage, then absolutely.”
With opener David Warner, the player of the tournament in 2021, set to overcome a neck injury suffered in a clash with England, Australia is poised to make just the one change from the team that won the final, injecting David into Smith’s middle-order spot.
David has risen to prominence over the past 18 months, earning contracts in T20 tournaments around the world for his power hitting and elevating himself into the Australian team despite never having played a first-class game.
But he has emerged as a man for the times, and David has already plundered a half-century and two scores of 40 in nine T20 games for Australia over the past two months.
It was enough for New Zealand legend Ross Taylor to identify the 26-year-old as one of five players to watch in the tournament.
“He has had some useful cameos in his brief appearances for Australia so far and he obviously has a lot of power. He seems to be able to hit boundaries with ease,” Taylor said.
“He will slot into an Australian team already packed with firepower – the fact someone as talented as Cameron Green couldn’t get in the squad tells its own story.
“I think Australia fans are going to really love him and cricket fans all around the world are going to enjoy watching him. He knows those pitches and conditions and I think he could be set for a big month.”
David’s inclusion moved Australian star Pat Cummins to declare the reigning champions are “even better prepared” than for last year’s successful tournament.
“We’ve played a lot more,” he said.
“We can draw on the experiences from last year, but in saying that, T20 is a really fickle format. You look around, there’s probably four or five teams that could win it.
“You look at a couple of the qualifying games, huge upsets straight away.
“We feel really well positioned and we’ll give it a good crack.”