Australia could rest players vs Scotland in potential Group B decider

Australia have the opportunity to plot England’s downfall at the T20 World Cup 2024 and could jeopardise their rivals’ prospects of qualifying for the Super Eights by resting players in their final group-stage match against Scotland.

Josh Inglis is one of the squad players who could potentially have an outing against ScotlandGetty Images

“The only thing is that you don’t carry your NRR through to the Super Eights, which is a little bit interesting. The whole tournament starts again. I would have liked to have seen the benefit of the early rounds, and what you were able to do in the early rounds, even right down to the seeds. We’re seeded No. 2. We can’t change that seeding, so it doesn’t change what happens in the Super Eights for us.”

In football’s World Cups, teams in the same group play the final round of fixtures simultaneously to avoid situations where sporting integrity could be compromised. That has been a norm ever since a 1982 match – known as the Disgrace of Gijón – which saw West Germany and Austria collude on a result which suited both teams.

Asked if cricket could consider a similar system, McDonald drew a comparison with Australian Rules Football: “You’d have to have a rolling schedule, wouldn’t you, to work out what was going to happen and unfold? I know other sports do that now: they don’t lock away their later rounds until they’ve seen the first part of the season.

“That’s probably more an AFL lens on that. But I think sometimes you’re a beneficiary of that position, and other times you’re not. So, whatever unfolds, there might be a way for teams to work out whether they’re going through the Super Eights or not.”

Australia could play five times in 10 days if they reach the final in Barbados on June 29, and McDonald said their management are conscious of player workloads ahead of Tuesday’s fixture. “We’ve got a short turnaround from the England game into this one. There’s travel involved… we believe that whatever XI we put out there, it’s going to be very, very strong.

“Clearly there’s a great challenge there for teams to navigate through the Super Eights: game, travel, game, travel, game. It’s going to be difficult in how you manage your resources and make sure they are ready to perform with short turnarounds. There’s a bit of an art to that. It may not necessarily be a locked XI through that period for teams. But they’re hypotheticals: we’ve got Namibia in front of us first.”