Marnus Labuschagne has bolted into Australia’s 2023 World Cup squad after an impressive run since the ODI series in South Africa and continuing the same in India.
Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar is no longer part of the squad after failing to recover from a calf strain. Australia have decided to stick with Travis Head despite an injury and expect him to be available for the business end of the competition.
Labuschagne smashed a match-winning ton in the second ODI against South Africa in Bloemfontein to lead Australia to a commanding 123-run win. He finished with 138 runs in three innings against India, with a best score of 72 in Rajkot. He is likely to follow at No. 4 for the Men in Yellow in the showpiece tournament
Meanwhile, the five-time champions have decided to carry Head for the event despite head coach Andrew McDonald confirming earlier that the left-hander will miss at least the first half.
Head suffered a wrist injury during the fourth ODI against the Proteas and was the first-choice opener in the World Cup but Mitchell Marsh is likely to stick with David Warner at the top. Hence, they will technically have only a 14-man squad.
Chief selector George Bailey addressed the decision to include Head by saying, as quoted by cricket.com.au:
“We have made the decision to carry Travis through the early stages with the aim of him being available around the mid-part of the tournament. He has been a really important player in this ODI team and we are hopeful his return can provide a positive impetus as it gets to the business end of the tournament.
“This was a tough call but unfortunately, we couldn’t carry both Travis and Ashton into the tournament with the injuries they have.”
Cricket Australia have also confirmed that Matt Short and Tanveer Sangha will remain with the squad until they finish their warm-up matches. The five-time champions broke their five-game losing streak on Wednesday (September 27), beating India by 66 runs in Rajkot.
Australia’s final 15-man squad for 2023 World Cup:
Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.