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Discussing Cricket Australia’s World Cup Squad

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Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

Cricket Australia’s World Cup 2019 Squad. Discussing Australia’s World Cup Squad.

April 15 2019 was a much-awaited date for Australian cricket fans. Australia’s excellent 2019 in ODIs has created optimism and excitement from all corners, with the team now on a run of eight straight victories, and having us believing they can go very far in the upcoming World Cup.

What this caused, though, was headaches. Shaun Marsh was Australia’s premier ODI batsman in a tough 2018 for the team. Peter Handscomb shifted from red-ball struggles to white-ball success. Usman Khawaja came out of nowhere and was unbelievable in India and the UAE. Aaron Finch found some form. This was all as Steve Smith and David Warner were about to come back into contention.

So, amid all the excitement, there was always a debate about what Australia’s first World Cup XI should look like. Below is the squad of 15 Australia has picked to try defend its World Cup crown:

Discussing Cricket Australia’s World Cup Squad

There are key points to take out of this squad selection, and below is my take on the selectors’ work. Changes can be made up until May 23, and it will be interesting to see if that proves to be the case.

Also read: Why I believed 2018 was a blessing for Australia.

There is always room for Steve Smith

I’ll get this one out of the way first.

Sure, the former captain has struggled for fluency at times in the ongoing IPL 2019. He has scored his 186 runs this season at a strike rate of just 107.51. Coming back from an elbow injury, it is taking some time for Smith to click into full gear for Rajasthan Royals.

The opposite applies to David Warner. Warner has made an excellent return to the IPL, sitting top of the run scoring charts, and looking as though he hasn’t missed a beat.

However, Smith remains one of the world’s premier batsmen. Even with time out of the game, leaving Smith out would have been such a huge call by the selectors, given the value his ability and experience would provide in a World Cup. Sure, his numbers leading up to his ban weren’t great, but his ODI career before a bit of a lean period shows he has plenty to offer. His ability to keep the strike moving will be important in England, giving greater freedom to the likes of Aaron Finch, David Warner, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell.

Discussing Cricket Australia's World Cup Squad. Steve Smith David Warner Peter Handscomb Josh Hazlewood Cricket Blog CricBlog
Image credit: Getty Images. Discussing Cricket Australia’s World Cup Squad – Steve Smith should be in the squad.

Peter Handscomb is mighty unlucky

One decision I don’t agree with is the non-selection of Peter Handscomb.

Crucial to Australia’s incredible series win in India, Handscomb has had a superb 2019. In 14 matches, he has scored 479 runs at 43.54. Even more significant has been his strike rate of 98.15, which has allowed Australia to not lose momentum in the middle overs. Further, he is a back up wicket keeper to Alex Carey, who has certainly impressed less than Peter Handscomb has so far in 2019. Carey was tried as opener, then as a finisher, and it’s safe to say that most of us are still questioning his batting role in the team. I went as far to say Handscomb should have been given the gloves in the Pakistan series, with a view to have him as the keeper in the World Cup.

So, with Handscomb not in the original squad, Australia have picked seven specialist batsmen (excluding Carey), which gives the squad an slightly unbalanced feel. To me, Handscomb should be there in place of one pace bowler, where selections have been made with injuries likely front of mind.

Discussing Cricket Australia's World Cup Squad. Steve Smith David Warner Peter Handscomb Josh Hazlewood Cricket Blog CricBlog
AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade. Dissecting Cricket Australia’s World Cup Squad – Peter Handscomb is really unlucky to miss out.

Also read: Why I believed 2018 was a blessing for Australia.




What impact will Nathan Lyon have?

There is the argument that Australia have picked an extra seamer as cover for the history of injuries among the current group of fast bowlers.

However, another reason for the plethora of seamers was if Australia choose not to pick Nathan Lyon. Lyon was important in India and UAE, bowling at an economy rate of 4.78. However, conditions will be different in England. Wickets in the middle overs could prove crucial in good batting conditions, and one wonders whether Lyon will possess the threat he does in red-ball cricket. Will opposition teams be worried when Lyon comes on to bowl? Can the selectors be confident of Lyon consistently bowling at under five an over against teams looking to go big on flat tracks?

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Josh Hazlewood is also unlucky

Josh Hazlewood might not be in some people’s first XI, but it was a surprise not to see him in the squad.

With the rise of Jhye Richardson, and strong impact of Nathan Coulter-Nile, there was no place for Hazlewood. Selectors must have been thinking that his style would have no place in England conditions, where the ball does little. However, with his excellent ODI record (average of 25 and economy rate of below five), Australia could have found a place for him considering they picked five pace bowlers. He remains a high-quality bowler.

Discussing Cricket Australia's World Cup Squad. Steve Smith David Warner Peter Handscomb Josh Hazlewood Cricket Blog CricBlog
Discussing Cricket Australia’s World Cup Squad – Josh Hazlewood is unlucky.

Those questioning Shaun Marsh’s place… don’t

It was an awful 2018 for Australia.

The ball tampering incident derailed their year. But, Australia also had the worst ODI record (win/loss ratio) of any nation in the world. Sure, they played England in two five match series, as well as South Africa, but it is an unacceptable result.

One player who stood out was Shaun Marsh. 2018 saw him score 416 runs at 59.42, with three centuries. He hasn’t fared too badly in 2019 either, scoring 435 runs at 48.33. With a strike rate of over 100 in 2018, and close to mid-80s in 2019, how could Shaun Marsh miss out?

Good call by the selectors to have him in the squad.

Verdict

Overall, it is a strong squad. But, a key change I would make is Peter Handscomb over Jason Behrendhorff. Also, if Nathan Coulter-Nile is unfit, then Josh Hazlewood comes in.

However, with the return of David Warner and Steve Smith, along with the good form of others in the squad, other teams need to beware of Australia. There is little doubt this side is a definite Semi Final contender.

Looking forward to the tournament!

Thanks for reading!

Also read: Top 3 SG Cricket Bats of 2019

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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