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Cricket World Cup: Concerns hover over Head and Zampa

Australia have a number of injury problems with the World Cup in India just around the corner, with the fractured hand suffered by Travis Head potentially affecting both their batting and bowling options.

Left-hander Head, inked in to open the batting alongside David Warner, was struck by a short ball from Gerald Coetzee during the ODI series in South Africa and is a major doubt to recover in time to feature in the global showpiece.

What2023 Cricket World Cup
WhereIndia
WhenThursday 5th October - Sunday 19th November, 2023
How to watchKayo, Foxtel
OddsIndia 3.20, England 4.00, Australia 5.50, Pakistan 7.50, New Zealand 8.50 

Travis injury a major headache

Head was injured during the fourth one-day against the Proteas at Centurion and Aussie head coach Andrew McDonald accepts that there will be a big call to be made in the near future.

McDonald confirmed that Head will definitely not be ready for the opening stages of the tournament but that it may be "an option to carry him through the front half of the World Cup".

The 29-year-old dropped out of the Australian 50-over set-up for nearly four years between late 2018 and March 2002, but has been a major player in the format since his return.

He announced his return to the fold with 101 and 89 against Pakistan, before smashing a career-best 152 against England in Melbourne in November 2022.

Head averaged 68.75 during 2022, while this year he has made 241 runs at 48.20 from seven matches, showing that he has become an integral part of Australia’s ODI plans.

Should he miss the World Cup, Mitchell Marsh is the leading contender to partner Warner at the top of the order, with fellow all-rounder Cameron Green another potential option.

Spin issues a worry for World Cup

With the upcoming World Cup being held in India, it is obvious that spin bowling will be a major factor for every team wanting to go all the way and lift the trophy.

Australia currently have plenty to ponder in that area, with star off-spinner Nathan Lyon of course ruled out by his long-term calf injury.

The selected spin options for the tournament are led by leggie Adam Zampa and left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, while Head would be an obvious back-up with his part-time off-spin.

However, Agar - also a more than useful lower-order batter - played just one of the five one-dayers in South Africa due to ongoing calf problems of his own and will miss the warm-up series in India as he is away on paternity leave.

Head is a major doubt for the tournament due to his hand injury, while Zampa suffered mauling at the hands of the Proteas during the second half of the recent ODI series.

The 31-year-old has a wealth of experience on the international stage, having played more than 150 times for the Baggy Greens across ODIs and T20Is, however, he conceded a record-equalling 113 from ten wicketless overs in the fourth one-dayer in South Africa.

He then went for 70 in the series finale, although he did take three wickets to take his tally for the series to eight.

And the worries may not be too serious if you look a little further back, with Zampa having taken four wickets in three of his previous five one-dayers.

He also has 24 wickets at an average of 29.45 and an economy rate of 5.65 in 14 one-day international appearances in India to date.

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