Steve Smith, David Warner Return Ignites Selection Dilemma For Australia World Cup Squad

Written by Abhishek Patil

Justin Langer, the Australia coach, said the team’s recent spike in form in one-day internationals means the selectors will have to make tough calls while choosing their 15-man squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.

For over a year, Australia hadn’t won an ODI series and their prospects at the World Cup were gloomy. However, they’ve dramatically turned things around in the last couple of months, winning eight matches on the trot across India and the UAE.

Being 2-0 down against India, they bounced back to win the remaining three matches before sweeping Pakistan in the five-match series in UAE.

Several players, including captain Aaron Finch, have hit form, and with David Warner and Steve Smith back in the mix after serving their 12-month bans, selection for the marquee event is going to be an interesting affair.

“It’s (the 15 for the World Cup) actually becoming more obvious by the day to me. The same with the other selectors,” said Langer. “It becomes more clear as you watch games. That’s why games are so important.

“There’s obviously going to be a couple of really disappointed players. But that’s the tough business we’re in.”

One of the more pressing dilemmas the selectors face will be in the opening department. Usman Khawaja has been in spectacular form with two centuries and four fifties in the last eight ODIs. Finch came back from his own rut and scored two hundreds and two fifties in the five games against Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Warner has been making big runs in the Indian Premier League. Langer hinted one of the three will have to be pushed down the order.

“Aaron has had a really good partnership with David Warner as well. This partnership’s blossoming between Aaron and Uzzie at the moment,” Langer said. “David has shown he’s a very versatile player, Uzzie’s batted three a number of times, Finchy’s batted in the middle order. Versatility’s important.”

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Abhishek Patil