Injury-hit Australia could see some new faces play in the World Cup semifinals against arch-rivals England but coach Justin Langer is optimistic of the reinforcements filling in the void. Top-order batsman Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh were ruled out of the World Cup after suffering a hamstring injury and a fractured arm respectively. Mathew Wade and Peter Handscomb have been called as replacements for the duo.
All-rounder Marcus Stoinis was also hampered by a side complaint, an issue which had sidelined him for two group stage matches. Mitchell Marsh has been called up as stand by. Australia, who were sitting comfortably on the top of the points table, slipped in their last group game and will face England in the semifinal and with key players suffering injury the reigning champion will be feeling the pressure. “It is pressure for anyone, but there is pressure for all 22 guys on the park,” Langer was quoted as saying by Cricket.com.au.
“Matthew Wade has played a lot of international cricket if he comes in. There’s a real upside to him and he is in no doubt career-best form.
“Pete Handscomb a few months ago helped us beat India 3-2 in India in their conditions and then 5-0 against Pakistan in the UAE. His temperament is excellent for it. Mitch Marsh has also played a lot of one day international cricket. We’re really lucky,” Langer said.
Australia has maintained that the side is open to shuffling the batting order according to the situation and Langer reiterated that they are a very adaptable team. “We’ve got so many options, and that’s the positive thing. Whether it’s Steve Smith batting at No.3, whether it’s Alex Carey coming up, we’ve got so many options - it’s a very adaptable team,” Langer said.
Australia’s batting strategy is heavily based on their top order firing consistently and their middle and lower-order finishing the game. David Warner (638 runs at 79.75) and Finch (507 at 56.33) have struck five centuries between them and Langer stressed they need top-order players who can follow their lead.
“We’ll keep sticking to the way we have picked over (recent) times - the top four guys who can score hundreds.
“We’ll weigh it all up. Potentially with Mitch Marsh coming in giving us some medium pace. He’s been bowling as well, played four Australia A games in pretty good form with bat and ball,” he said.