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Cricket World Cup: New faces offered India opening

Australia have set out their stall for the upcoming World Cup in India, having named their squads for the limited-overs tour of South Africa, which gets underway at the end of August.

The major headlines came with Mitch Marsh named as captain of the T20 side, while Marnus Labuschagne missed out on selection altogether and now has to be considered an outsider for a World Cup role.

Two newcomers were included in the ODI party, New South Wales leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha and Western Australia all-rounder Aaron Hardie, and they will have the chance to cement their places in the squad for the global event in India.

Skipper Pat Cummins misses the action in South Africa due to a wrist fracture, but he is expected to be ready for World Cup duty.

WhatSouth Africa v Australia limited-overs series
WhereSouth Africa
When30th August - 17th September
How to watchFox Cricket, Kayo

Sangha and Hardie seek to impress

Twenty-one-year-old spinner Sangha is certainly a left-field selection, having missed the whole of the most recent domestic season due to a stress fracture of the back.

Prior to that setback he had taken 37 wickets across the previous two Big Bash seasons for Sydney Thunder, but his List A experience to date stretches to a mere five matches, in which he has taken seven wickets at 30.14.

He now has the chance to make up for lost time, having been named in the squad for the ODI action in South Africa alongside fellow spinners Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar.

Hardie, meanwhile, is the third all-rounder from Western Australia to be included in the current set-up, after T20 skipper Marsh and Cameron Green.

And like Sangha, it is not in the 50-over arena where Hardie has made his mark to date. The 24-year-old made a superb 174 not out in the Sheffield Shield final last year and then enjoyed major success for Perth Scorchers in the BBL.

He led the runscoring charts for the tournament with 460 at a strike-rate of 141.10, having been unable to bowl due to injury and is also in the T20 squad for the South Africa tour.

Again, similar to Sangha, he now has the challenge of becoming a success in 50-over cricket, which would see hm cement his place in the Aussie plans for the World Cup.

What2023 Cricket World Cup
WhereIndia
When5th October - 19th November 2023
How to watchKayo, Foxtel
OddsIndia 3.20, England 4.00, Australia 5.00, Pakistan 8.00

Left-arm tearaway Johnson sounds familiar

With the selectors clearly not making a huge distinction between the limited-overs formats, it is also worth keeping an eye on the couple of new call-ups included in the T20 squad to take on the Proteas.

All-rounder Matthew Short will get a chance to shine at the top of the order in the absence of David Warner and Cameron Green, having made just two runs less than Hardie in the most recent BBL campaign.

Throw in 11 wickets with his off-spin and it is clear that Short is a major talent, and success in the shortest form could open the door for a 50-over World Cup call-up.

The second new face, although a familiar name, is Spencer Johnson, who is very much in the mould of namesake Mitchell.

A left-armer capable of high pace, Johnson has taken time to rise to the top due to a long-standing foot problem, but at 27 he is now coming into his prime and offers a decent option should Mitchell Starc suffer an injury.

And it is clear that he is a player with a big future role to play if he can maintain his fitness, with chief of selectors George Bailey admitting: "Spencer is on the radar for all formats."

Having impressed in domestic cricket and on an a tour of New Zealand, Johnson is currently in action in England in The Hundred and recently delivered the most economical spell ever seen in the competition.

On his debut for Oval Invincibles, Johnson took three wickets for just one run from the 20 deliveries he was allowed in a 94-run win over Manchester Originals.

These are truly remarkable figures which highlight the talent and potential there is for another Johnson to become a premier fast bowler on the world stage.

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