Travis Head has been included in Australia's final squad for the ODI World Cup in India despite breaking his hand in the recent ODI series against South Africa. Ashton Agar will miss the World Cup after suffering an injury in Australia's warm-up match against India, but the Aussies have taken a gamble on Head.
Australia confirmed their final squad on Thursday night, just hours before the ICC deadline for changes from the provisional squad named earlier this month. Australia's selectors have opted to take Head into the 50-over World Cup despite him nursing a broken hand that will see him unavailable for the first half of the tournament.
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Selectors have deemed the opening batter too important to Australia's title hopes to leave him out of the 15-man squad. The injury has opened the door for Marnus Labuschagne, with the batter winning selection in the final squad despite initially being overlooked.
Labuschagne sent selectors a timely message with runs in South Africa earlier this month, and 72 against India on Wednesday. The Queenslander will most likely bat at No.4 so Mitch Marsh can open with David Warner until Head is available.
As for Agar, the left-arm orthodox spinner was unable to beat a calf injury in time for the start 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," chief selector George Bailey said.
"With a focused rehabilitation block we are hopeful Ashton can become available as a possible replacement player near the mid-way part of the tournament, should this be required. 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."
Adam Zampa the only spinner as Ashton Agar left out
The decision to leave out Agar means Australia only has one specialist spinner in the squad (Adam Zampa). Glenn Maxwell will be the second-choice spinner and took four wickets in the third ODI against India.
Leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha, who was part of the squads that took on South Africa and India, will remain around the World Cup group until the start of the tournament, along with batter Matt Short.
On Wednesday, Marsh produced one of his best white-ball knocks for the green and gold in brutal conditions as Australia snapped a losing streak to defeat India by 66 runs. Unable to take the field due to the heat exhaustion and full-body cramps he endured while batting in mid-afternoon, Marsh had to shelve plans for his bowling return but was able to enjoy Maxwell making a sensational return from injury to spin India out for 286 in reply to Australia's massive 7-352.
Australia's squad for ODI Cricket 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.
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