On the back of his Cricket World Cup heroics, Travis Head was the talk of the town but just a few months later he has been released from Australia's white-ball squads after recent struggles with the bat. The 30-year-old will be rested for the final two ODIs against the West Indies, as well as three T20s against the visitors before he is expected to return to the side for the upcoming Test series against New Zealand.
After a rare king pair in a loss to the Windies at the Gabba, Head was called in to open the batting in Australia's ODI on Friday night. But the left-hander struggled again, out on the fifth ball on a flat pitch as Australia easily beat the Windies at the MCG by eight wickets.
Head has been a constant presence in all three Australian sides during a hugely successful 12 months for the men's squad. He is expected to be named in the Test side to face New Zealand, which begins in Wellington on February 29 following three T20s against the Black Caps starting on February 21.
The Aussie batsman played a huge role in Australia's success at this year's Cricket World Cup, starring in the final against India with a match-winning knock of 137 runs. The news of his absence from the team brought about a mixed reaction from fans, many of whom believe he should have been rested earlier.
A mammoth year for Head so it was surprising he was playing in this series at all.
Bartlett dealt with a back injury last year and selectors don't want to overwork him with 3 games in 5 days
— Oliver Caffrey (@ollycaffrey) February 3, 2024
Rested is a nice way of putting it 😂 Only 1 good performance all summer.
— Nat (@Natasha__Milano) February 3, 2024
— SkyExch (@officialskyexch) February 3, 2024
Travis Head is in a form slump, let's face it. I hope Fraser-McGurk gets his spot, but I have a feeling it'll be Mitch Marsh.
— Gregory Walters (@CatmanForever) February 3, 2024
— Sam Tugwell (@samtugwell_15) February 3, 2024
Xavier Bartlett being rested after one (1) game means he’s truly made it as an Australian fast bowler
— Brett Sprigg (@BrettSprigg) February 3, 2024
Xavier Bartlett shines on debut but doesn't retain his spot
Quick Josh Hazlewood was added to Australia's ODI squad for Sunday's match at the SCG. But surprisingly after shining on his Australia debut, Xavier Bartlett will be rested from the upcoming match.
The 25-year-old registered figures of 4-17 on Friday and while team management says he is not injured, he has not been named in the team. Bartlett is coming off a back injury last year and has been limited to T20s in the BBL with the Brisbane Heat. It is plausible that selectors feared three games in five days might be too much of a risk for the budding paceman. Bartlett will likely return for the third ODI in Canberra on Tuesday but fellow Queensland quick Spencer Johnson has been added to the squad as additional cover for the match in Canberra.
Incredibly, Friday's match against the Windies was Bartlett's first 50-over game at any level since September 2022. "Oh, definitely not," Bartlett said when asked if he thought he would be playing for Australia this summer.
"We've got so many great fast bowlers at the moment. Obviously, (Mitchell) Starc, (Josh) Hazlewood and (Pat) Cummins are probably the top three to ever do it for Australia or in that conversation. Then I only really got my chance through Jhye Richardson's injury and Nathan Ellis was injured as well.
"There's definitely a long list of people in front of me. But I've just got to keep trying to do my best for Queensland, and if I get an opportunity at the higher level just try and take it and just sort of almost learn as much as I can as well along the way."
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