Squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
Finally, after the months of speculation and suggested permutations and combinations, the time has arrived for the declaration of the 15-man squad from each of the 10 nations going to take part in ODI’s mega-showpiece event which is due to start in England in June this year. New Zealand Cricket were first to announce their 15-men contingent for the World Cup. Following suit, Cricket Australia (CA) has today announced their 15 probables for the World Cup. Here, we take a look at the players announced by CA for their title defence in England.
Aaron Finch, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, and Shaun Marsh
The biggest news from the squad announcement was from the batting department which saw the return of the banned duo of David Warner and Steve Smith. Both are quality cricketers and proven performers in the international arena.
Their inclusion adds to the might of an imposing batting line-up of which nearly every batsman is in very good stead. Marsh had performed brilliantly, especially in the ODI arena, after the duo got banned in Newlands last year while Khawaja is going through a ‘never-seen-before’ ODI form, averaging 59.15 from 13 innings since his return to the format.
The only cause for worry was skipper Aaron Finch’s form which was dutifully addressed in the 5-match ODI series against Pakistan in UAE. 451 runs from 5 innings in that series made Finch the leading run-scorer for Australia in ODIs since the start of April last year. Overall, the batting looks a cautious mixture of aggression and stability.
Carrey was destined much earlier to board the England-bound flight as the main wicket-keeper in the Australian World Cup contingent due to his immaculate glove skills. One move from the selectors which surprised everybody was the omission of Peter Handscomb who could have been drafted as a back-up keeper.
Barring Warner and Smith, the other three pure batsmen have fared better than Handscomb in recent times that’s why the only skill which could have got him to England was his added wicket-keeping skills which the selectors chose to ignore.
Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis
Maxwell and Stoinis provide the two all-round options. Maxwell showed some really good form in the Pakistan series where he averaged 64.50 for his 258 runs. Stoinis was in very good form in the recently concluded domestic competition where he finished third with 533 runs at an average of 53.30.
Both are X-factor players having great hitting abilities along with a good bowling hand capable of giving their captain a good 5-6 overs on any day.
Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon
Zampa showed his class in the two recent ODI series against India Pakistan where he took 18 wickets from 10 games. The off-spinning option of Nathan Lyon has been included to complement the aggressive leg-spin bowling of Zampa.
With an economy of 4.79 runs per over, Lyon is the second most economical Australian bowler since April 2018. He can choke the run-flow from one end while Zampa can go for wickets.
Micthell Starc, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson and Nathan Coulter-Nile
Selectors have clarified that the inclusion of Starc and Richardson is provisional as they are expected to return to full fitness before the start of the World Cup. Starc, Cummins, and Coulter-Nile were the expected first-choices in the seam department while Richardson and Behrendorff have been rewarded for their good performances in the opportunities which have come their way.
Richardson leads the wickets’ tally with his 22 scalps from 11 innings in the period since April 1, 2018. Behrendorff’s left-hand swing can come really handy in the swinging conditions of England, a factor well considered by the selectors for his inclusion in the team.
Josh Hazlewood and Kane Richardson
Both the pacemen have been named as the possible replacements if any of the above-mentioned fast-bowler gets injured. While Richardson’s form in the Big Bash, where he was the highest wicket-taker, aided his candidature for the reserves, Hazlewood’s lack of proper match practice went against his candidature in the 15-member squad. According to the chairman of selectors, Trevor Hohns, Hazlewood is yet to prove his match fitness. They are looking at him more as a part of Australia’s Ashes plans than the World Cup.
Probable Starting XI: Aaron Finch ©, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carrey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Adam Zampa.