Australia on Monday announced its squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, naming former captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner among the top players. Both players also regained their Cricket Australia contracts as the country’s new list of contracted players was announced — less than three weeks after becoming eligible for international selection again after bans imposed for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year.
Responding to Australia's squad, cricket expert and commentator Harsha Bhogle took to Twitter and gave his analysis on the selection of the team.
While stating that 'Australia have picked a strong squad for their defence of the World Cup', he wondered whether 'they are a batsman and reserve wicket keeper short'. He went on to state that he expected 'they would pick Peter Handscomb instead of one of the fast bowlers'.
Pacemen Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff are among the surprise inclusions.
While Smith and Warner were selected for Australia's World Cup squad, there was no room for Josh Hazlewood or Peter Handscomb.
Handscomb was seen to have a strong case for selection as he averaged more than 40 in 13 matches last year and offers wicketkeeping coverage. Mitch Marsh, who was Australia’s test vice-captain as recently as October, has been omitted and has lost his CA contract but his brother Shaun Marsh has been retained.
Selection chairman Trevor Hohns said choosing the squad involved several tough calls.
“Steve Smith and David Warner come back into the squad,” he said. “Both are world class players and it has been pleasing to see them produce some good form in the IPL.”
Australia World Cup squad: Aaron Finch (captain), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (vc), Pat Cummins (vc), Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon.
(With Associated Press inputs)