Cricket Australia got off the blocks first, announcing its World Cup squad hours before India is scheduled to name its 15 – and the Aussie selectors did a mix of the expected and the unexpected.
In the former category Steve Smith, who has had an indifferent IPL after his return from the ban, and fellow exile David Warner, who has been setting the tournament on fire, both make it to the squad.
In the surprise category Peter Handscomb, a regular in the Aussie squad last year, has been left out despite averaging 43.5 in the team’s last thirteen matches. On March 10 this year in Mohali, Handscomb scored a brilliant 117 (105 balls, eight fours, three sixes, a strike-rate of 111.42) to pilot a chase of 359 against India, the highest score chased down in the team’s one-day history. (His accomplice at the tail end of that chase, Ashton Turner - 84 off 43 with six sixes and five fours - also finds no place in the team.
What makes the Handscomb drop more interesting is that Australia have only one wicket keeper, Alex Carey, in the squad - in the event of injury, Handscomb could have been the standby.
The team boasts five quicks in Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff. Starc and Richardson, both struggling with injuries through the last season, have been picked “subject to fitness:” chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said. The squad has two spinners in Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon.
Team: Aaron Finch (captain), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa