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Cricket World Cup: Australia stick with familiar faces

Australia have named their 15-man squad for the upcoming 50-over World Cup in India and the selection has favoured the established order and overlooked a number of potential fresher faces.

Changes can still be made until late in September, with the tournament starting in early October, while the Baggy Greens begin their campaign against hosts India in Chennai on Sunday 8th October.

Australia are currently in ODI action in South Africa and also have a warm-up series in India, meaning that opportunities for those who missed out on selection are still plentiful.

What2023 Cricket World Cup
WhereIndia
When5th October - 19th November 2023
How to watchKayo, Foxtel
OddsIndia 3.20, England 4.00, Australia 5.50

Injuries could yet force changes

Pat Cummins, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell are all absent from the action against the Proteas due to fitness issues, but have all been confirmed as members of the World Cup squad.

The selected 15 are: Pat Cummins, Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

Captain Cummins is recovering from a hand injury, with Smith sidelined by a wrist problem, Starc being troubled by a groin issue and Maxwell struggling with an ankle injury.

All-rounder Cameron Green is also set to miss the remainder of the tour after suffering a concussion in the opening one-day international in Bloemfontein.

Currently taking their places in South Africa are Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Ellis, Aaron Hardie and Tanveer Sangha, with Tim David and Spencer Johnson also involved after impressing in the preceding T20I series.

Should any of the quartet of injured stars not make it, Australia clearly have options for their replacement and will have players who have recent experience on the international stage.

Labuschagne in particular has already made his case after initially being overlooked for both series against the Proteas, making an unbeaten 80 to guide Australia home in the first ODI.

The real question is should Australia have perhaps gambled and introduced some younger blood, with eight of the chosen 15 have played in 2019 World Cup in England?

Who is on the outside?

Left-arm speedster Johnson is certainly in contention for a call-up should Starc not recover in time for the action in India, as he is something of a like-for-like replacement.

Similarly, Ellis' out-and-out pace could be a valuable asset in India and he is surely the first cover option for Cummins, Hazlewood and Abbott.

Young leg-spinner Sangha also pressed his case by taking 4-31 on his T20I debut in South Africa, although he was back behind the more established Adam Zampa in the pecking order before the 20-over series was over.

Australia do have a number of spin options in their squad, with Zampa supported by the left-arm spin of Ashton Agar and the part-time options of Travis Head, Maxwell and Smith.

As only Zampa is a lower-order batter and not an all-rounder, Sangha would need something to happen to his fellow leggie to earn a late call-up for World Cup action.

Meanwhile, Hardie and David have seen their chances of a late call hit by the successful return to the fold of Labuschagne, who is surely the first cab off the rank should a batting replacement is required.

Past success a motivation

Australia, of course, won the World Cup when it was first hosted by India back in 1987 and are 5.50 to repeat that success this time around.

In 1987 the Baggy Greens opted for an experienced line-up, with skipper Allan Border leading a side which contained the likes of David Boon, Geoff Marsh, Dean Jones and Crag McDermott.

That side was the one which would spark a period of almost unparalleled success for the Baggy Greens in both Test and 50-over cricket.

Next time the World Cup headed to India, in 1996, Australia reached the final before being beaten by Sri Lanka, while in 2011 they fell in the quarter-finals to the hosts.

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