Steve Smith and David Warner are set to make a comeback in the international arena, as they were included in Australia’s 15-man World Cup squad. The defending champions on Monday announced their squad for the upcoming mega-event, which kicks off from May 30.
While Smith and Warner are making a comeback in the national side, seamer Josh Hazlewood and wicketkeeper-batsman Peter Handscomb have been left out from the 15-man squad. Australia chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns cited Hazlewood’s fitness as the reason for dropping him from the squad.
With Handscomb out, Alex Carey becomes the sole wicketkeeper in the squad. In the bowling department, tweakers Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa have made the cut, while the pace battery will be spearheaded by Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. The other seamers that have been named in the squad are Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff.
Jhye Richardson was initially named in the squad but was later replaced with Kane Richardson following an injury blow.
A statement released by the Australia chairman of selectors, Trevor Hohns, said that while Hazlewood would miss out on the World Cup he would be a key member in the Ashes, which starts two weeks after the conclusion of the mega-event. Hazlewood, who is yet to recover completely from the back injury he sustained in January, has scalped 72 wickets in 44 ODI appearances.
“Having not played at the highest level for some time, we feel this will provide him with the best preparation to get some quality cricket under his belt,” Hohns said in a Cricket Australia media release.
“Our focus is to have Josh back bowling at his best for the commencement of a big Ashes Tour,” it added.
Happy with the return of Smith and Warner to the international circuit, Hons said, “Both are world-class players and it has been pleasing to see them produce some good form in the IPL.”
Australia will kick-start their World Cup campaign on June 1 against minnows Afghanistan.
Squad: Aaron Finch (captain), Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa.