T20 World Cup: Five Australians still with a chance to lift trophy at MCG

As Indian coach Rahul Dravid bemoaned the lack of exposure for his vanquished players to international T20 leagues like the Big Bash as a reason for his team’s World Cup failure, the Australian influence on the impending final became more significant.

The home team, the defending champions, failed to progress themselves, maybe hindered by the raft of its own team, including the likes of David Warner, Pat Cummins and even Mitchell Starc, who also don’t play in the BBL.

But while no Australian players will get the chance to enjoy World Cup success on Sunday at the MCG, a bevy of local legends are in with their own shot of hoisting the trophy aloft.

There are five Australians involved in the coaching staff of both England and Pakistan, with Test great Matthew Hayden having assumed the role of not just batting coach but chief motivator for Pakistan, and with great effect.

Matthew Mott, the head coach of both England’s white-ball teams, has the chance to make his own slice of history and coach both a men’s and women’s team to a World Cup victory in the same year.

Mott, the former opening batter for NSW and Victoria, guided the Australian women’s team to a raft of tournament wins, including the one-day World Cup in New Zealand in March.

The international business of cricket coaching can often demand a change in loyalties, and Mott said he had no issue throwing his allegiance behind Australia’s long-time cricketing enemy.

“As you find in cricket, you love the one you‘re with. And I love being part of this group,” Mott said as England looks to hold both the 50-over and T20 World Cup titles at the same time.

“It‘s very special to me. I think in the short time I’ve been there I’ve got a lot of really strong allies within our playing group and our support group. We’re incredibly motivated. It’s what you play for.”

Knowing how crucial adapting to Australian conditions was for England’s victory, Mott enlisted the help of another Australian legend, Mike Hussey, and former England head coach David Saker to help his bowlers.

Both men have loads of BBBL knowledge, Hussey having won a title with the Sydney Thunder and Saker being the head coach of the Melbourne Renegades.

Hayden has had less BBL involvement, but Pakistan bowling coach Shaun Tait played with both the Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes before his retirement in 2016.

The tournament has been a rollercoaster for Pakistan who lost to Zimbabwe before a South African loss to the Netherlands secured their passage to the semi-finals where they smashed New Zealand.

While footage of Hayden’s inspirational words went viral, the former Aussie opener said the players’ spirit had earnt them their chance at glory.

“We all understand that big games are about handling pressure and handling adversity and there’s huge expectations and challenges,” he said.

“One of the things I‘ve always admired about Pakistan cricket is their ability to be able to turn up in big moments. And mind you, there’s a big moment ahead of us. It’s very, very special to be a part of it.”

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