Townsville (Queensland), Sep 4 (SocialNews.XYZ) Australia men's cricket team coach Andrew McDonald has indicated the three-match One-day International series against New Zealand at Cairns, beginning September 6, will be the beginning of the process of streamlining the side for the 50-over World Cup in India next year.
Australia recently won the ODI series against Zimbabwe at Townsville 2-1, but the visitors too had some big takeaways, managing to upset the hosts, with part-time spinner Ryan Burl taking five wickets in the final ODI.
The three-wicket loss for Australia was a wakeup call and McDonald has insisted the ODI series against No.1 ranked New Zealand will kick-start a series of minor tweaks in the side in the run-up to the showpiece global event next year.
Australia made just one change during the series win against Zimbabwe with Mitchell Marsh returning to Perth to nurse a minor ankle injury. Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar replaced him after captain Aaron Finch indicated he wanted the batting line-up to run deep with all-rounders Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green and Marsh all part of the winning unit.
"You'll see probably the balance of our team started to shift from game to game at times, just making sure that we're covering all the bases," McDonald was quoted as saying by thewest.com.au ahead of the series against New Zealand.
He added, with a limited number of matches remaining leading up to the 2023 World Cup, there aren't many opportunities left and only minor changes are possible.
"We haven't got a hell of a lot of cricket leading into that 2023 World Cup. We've got about 20 games and now that's diminished into the teens. We haven't gotten many opportunities to make sure that we're ready and prepared for that.
"We feel as though the personnel that's here (vs New Zealand) is going to underpin that with a couple of the obvious people that are missing as well."