Smith, Warner return as Australia World Cup 2019 squad named
SYDNEY: Ball-tamperers Steve Smith and David Warner were on Monday selected for Australia´s World Cup squad, but there was no room for Josh Hazlewood and Peter Handscomb.
It is the first call-up for the former captain and his deputy since the expiry late last month of year-long bans for their part in the “sandpapergate” scandal in Cape Town that rocked cricket.
They were eligible for the final two games of Australia´s recent limited-overs tour against Pakistan, but selectors preferred that they eased themselves back at the Twenty20 Indian Premier League.
All the top order have been firing, and it is Handscomb who is the fall guy despite averaging 43 in 13 games this year. The decision to drop him means the team only has one wicketkeeper in Alex Carey.
“We have been extremely pleased with how the ODI squad has been building over the past six months, including the recent series wins in India and against Pakistan in the UAE,” said chief selector Trevor Hohns.
“Steve Smith and David Warner come back into the squad. Both are world-class players and it has been pleasing to see them produce some good form in the IPL.”
Australia´s recent red-hot form has been built on the back of a rock-solid opening partnership between skipper Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja.
The decision for Langer now is whether to retain that combination when the 50-over World Cup begins in England and Wales at the end of next month or move one of them down to make way for Warner, who traditionally opens the batting.
Shaun Marsh, Smith, Glenn Maxwell and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis make up the middle order.
Selectors opted for two spinners in Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon and five quick bowlers.
As with the batsmen, Australia´s selectors faced a bowling conundrum as they target a record sixth World Cup triumph.
Pat Cummins will spearhead the attack while Mitchell Starc, the 2015 World Cup player of the tournament, has been recalled after being sidelined with a muscle tear since early February.
But Hazlewood, who has been out of action since January with a back injury, missed out, with Hohns saying the focus was on having him ready for the Ashes Test series in England which begins in August.
“Unfortunately, from the recent squad which toured India and the UAE, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner and Kane Richardson have made way for the above inclusions, but all three have been included in the Australia A squad for the tour of England.”
Squad: Aaron Finch (C), Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa.
This article or news story originally appeared on AFP