The Australia squad for world cup 2019 was announced on Monday with David Warner and Steve Smith’s return being the major highlight.
Smith and Warner make a comeback to the international fold following 12-month bans for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal that took place in South Africa last year.
Australia, who are being touted as one of the favourites for the trophy, looks heavy on the bowling front.
The selection was always going to be a tough one as stated by coach Justin Langer and it proved out to be the same. There was no room for in-form batsman Peter Handscomb, who was surprisingly left out.
With Smith’s return, Australia squad for world cup 2019 are looking to identify the position that was undertaken by Handscomb. Moreover, the heavy artillery in the pace department meant there was no space for an extra batsman to add depth.
Joining Handscomb in the list were Ashton Turner and Kane Richardson, who toured India and the United Arab Emirates last month.
However, the likes of Mitchell Starc and Jhye Richardson were called up subject to fitness, while star pacer Josh Hazelwood missed out completely due to injury woes.
ALSO READ:Analysis of India’s 15 Member squad for ICC World Cup 2019
The 15-man squad announcement comes as Australia seek title defence in England and Wales where the tournament kicks off from May 30 onwards.
Aussies beat New Zealand on home soil four years ago to lift their fifth World Cup honour. Trevor Hohns, the chairman of the selectors, said the return of “world-class players” Warner and Smith would help Australia win the World Cup.
“[Smith and Warner] are world-class players and it has been pleasing to see them produce some good form in the IPL. We have been extremely pleased with how the ODI squad has been building over the past six months,” Trevor Hohns said.
With the impending Ashes tour following immediately after the World Cup, this will mark an important phase for the side. here we analyse the Australian 15-member squad and what’s in store for Aaron Finch’s men.
Langer eyes flexibility as Aussies have headache with openers
With the return of Warner, Australia have a selection headache in terms of opening combination.
Usman Khawaja and Finch have been solid as an unit after scoring the runs against Pakistan in the 5-0 series whitewash.
Warner also has been in tremendous form in the ongoing 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The southpaw has scored 400 runs and is the Orange Cap holder.
His return means that the Aussies will have to change the dynamics a bit.
What we feel strongly is that all three of Finch, Khawaja and Warner will feature in the starting line-up and perhaps the skipper will drop down to accommodate Warner.
Even Khawaja may be asked to come in at number three, given that Warner and Finch have enjoyed a solid run in the past.
The left-hander has been supreme in 2019 and has amassed 769 runs which is the highest by a batsman this year.
Finch got back to form against Pakistan and is amongst the runs.
Warner’s form also is sky high at the moment.
That shows Australia have three in-form batsmen that could take hold of the top order. Coach Langer has called for flexibility.
“We have amazing flexibility now Usman and Finchy have done an incredible job opening the batting.
David and Finchy have done a great job in the past doing it. I love the flexibility of it.
[It’s about] boys playing their roles for the team not just playing the roles that suit them,” Langer told Melbourne radio SEN.
A look at Australia’s middle order
All eyes will be on talisman Smith, who was Australia’s best player in the 2015 edition of the World Cup. The Aussie superstar had amassed a mouth-watering 402 runs from eight matches.
Smith had smashed one century and four fifties. He will be required to handle the batting department and will need players to revolve around him.
Smith’s eye for the details and ability to score big runs will help Australia immensely. He is a strong platform for Australia to count upon.
Shaun Marsh adds valuable experience. The southpaw will need to be ready whenever called upon to handle the responsibility.
Glenn Maxwell is another player that is in form for the Aussies and he has matured into a fine player. His ability to handle pressure and play some crucial knocks is becoming the order of the day.
Maxi will also be needed to bowl a few overs on a consistent basis. His fielding is a plus for the side.
Marcus Stoinis is another name that fits into this starting XI. The all-rounder adds depth and is a strong finisher like Maxi.
His ability to be variable with the ball could help Australia in the middle overs.
Alex Carey is the lone wicket-keeper. He is another strong name in that middle order.
What Australia do lack is someone like a Handscomb to give them that extra bit in batting. Besides Marsh, they do not have an established name in the bench.
That could be a testing situation for the world champions. It remains to be seen whether the decision to leave Handscomb out has much bearing.
Australia have gone for a heavy bowling attack
Australia have named a heavy bowling unit to present their case in England and Wales.
They have gone for a five-man pace attack with variety written all over.
We will see two pacers warming the bench on most occasions and perhaps there could be plenty of rotation in store. That must be the reason behind this move.
Mitchell Starc, who was the best bowler in the 2015 World Cup for the Aussies, returns to the mix. He has been training well after making a return from injury.
His form and fitness will be a major highlight. The Aussies will want a 100% fit Starc and will unleash him at the opponents.
Starc is the senior figure alongside Nathan Coulter-Nile, who has enough quality and experience to cause an effect. He was in strong form in the series against Pakistan.
Jason Behrendorff, who is currently plying his trade in the IPL, gets a look in as the second left-arm pacer of this team.
He doesn’t have much experience playing for Aussies, but is riding on some strong form this year. Joining Behrendorff is Jhye Richardson, who looks a strong bet.
He has drawn attention with his wicket-taking abilities and has express pace. He is currently nursing a dislocated shoulder, but is expected to make a comeback soon.
Pat Cummins is the ace of this bowling unit. The right-arm fast bowler holds the cards for Australia’s show in the coveted tourney. Cummins is enjoying the best spell of his life.
The Aussies have gone in with two spinners.
Adam Zampa is the in-form name that will look to hurt sides with his consistency. He has played a major role in helping Australia win against India last month.
Zampa is their leading wicket-taker this year, with 18 scalps. Veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon adds cover. His experience will be a soothing aspect for the side.
Here is a look at Australia’s fixtures and complete squad
June 1: Afghanistan v Australia at Bristol (D/N)
June 6: Australia v West Indies at Trent Bridge
June 9: India v Australia at The Oval
June 12: Australia v Pakistan at Taunton
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia at The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh at Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia at Lord’s
June 29: New Zealand v Australia at Lord’s (D/N)
July 6: Australia v South Africa at Old Trafford (D/N)
Australia 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.