On the very expected lines, Steve Smith and David Warner have returned to Australia’s ODI squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup in England and Wales. Smith, the former Australia captain, and Warner, the former vice-captain, have not played international cricket since their ban following a ball-tampering incident in Cape Town in March 2018.
The two were eligible to play in Australia’s last ODI against Pakistan but the selectors instead asked them to play in the Indian Premier League. Both Smith and Warner will get a chance to practise with the team ahead of the World Cup during a training camp in Brisbane with three unofficial one-day games against New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Peter Handscomb has paid the price for Smith’s inclusion in the team. The right-hander’s recent form and his skills as a back-up wicketkeeper made many speculate that he was set to get a call. However, the Australian selectors decided against it. Handcomb has played each of Australia’s last 13 matches making a century and three half-centuries, averaging 43.54 and striking at 98.15. During the tour of India, he had also scored his maiden ODI ton.
Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh have bee rewarded for their fine show with the bat while Aaron Finch will lead the side.
Here's the Aussie squad out to defend their World Cup title!
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) April 15, 2019
Another big name to miss out is fast bowler Josh Hazlewood. The pacer is on the sidelined due to a back injury since January and Australia have not included him in the squad to keep him fit for the Ashes that will immediately follow the World Cup.
Australia, nonetheless, have named Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Coulter-Nile as the frontline pacers in the team. As expected, Adam Zampa and Nathan Coulter-Nile will take care of the spin department. Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis make up the all-rounders and Alex Carey is in as the lone wicket-keeper.
The World Cup will start on May 30 while Australia will kickstart their World Cup defence against Afghanistan on June 1.
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