Short-staffed: 9-player Australia wins T20 World Cup warmup match against Namibia

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) — Australia’s first Twenty20 World Cup warmup game started in bizarre circumstances Tuesday when the team only had nine players available to take on Namibia, forcing a selector and a coach to take the field.

Two other coaches also had to go on as substitute fielders in a game that the Australians won by seven wickets at Trinidad’s Queen’s Park Oval.

After restricting Namibia to 119-9, Australia scored 123-3 in 10 overs with veteran opener David Warner finishing 54 not out. Warner, 37, is accustomed to being one of the older players on the field at international level.

He had to share the field with four 40-somethings this time.

Chief selector George Bailey, 41, and 46-year-old fielding coach Andre Borovec were on the field in unmarked shirts when the match began to make up the numbers after Australia captain Mitch Marsh won the toss.

The Australians were still without six World Cup squad members who took part in the Indian Premier League, including pace bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins who played big roles in the final last weekend.

Bailey is a former international cricketer and a noted fielder. Borovec is a former wicketkeeper for Geelong in the Victorian Premier Cricket league.

Later, Cricket Australia reported that Bailey and Borovec were joined by batting coach Brad Hodge, who is 49, and head coach Andrew McDonald, who will turn 43 next week, when Marsh and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood spent time off the field.

Australia will likely also be shorthanded for its second warmup game against West Indies on Thursday at the same venue. None of the ICC warmup matches are recognized as official T20 internationals.

“Obviously, we didn’t have a full quota of players but the guys who played, probably a few of us needed to coming off a big layoff,” Hazlewood, who took two wickets, told the Cricket Australia website. “I know a number of the bowlers were coming off a long break, which is pretty unusual in our system, but it’s good to get out there. Playing is always different to training.”

Earlier Tuesday, two T20 tournament warmup matches in England and Dallas, Texas were washed out.

The T20 World Cup begins on Saturday and is being staged in the United States and the Caribbean.


AP cricket:

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