Former Australia captain Steve Smith and David Warner, who completed their bans for ball-tampering last month will return to the Australian squad for the 2019 World Cup. The defending champions took the tough decision to drop Peter Handscomb and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood from the 15-man squad announced on Monday.
David Warner currently leads the run scoring charts in the IPL, holding the orange cap with 400 runs, while Smith has 186 runs to his name in 6 innings.
Dropping two in-form players underlines both the reversal of Australia’s recent one-day form and the depth of talent the panel had to choose from.
“Steve Smith and David Warner come back into the squad. Both are world class players and it has been pleasing to see them produce some good form in the IPL,” Cricket Australia chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said on Monday.
“Mitchell Starc and Jhye Richardson have both been named subject to fitness. The advice from the CA medical team is they are progressing well and barring any setbacks will be available for selection ahead of our opening match against Afghanistan on June 1,” he added.
Handscomb has averaged 43 in 13 games this year, including a superb maiden ODI ton in India, and scored at a strike rate of 98.
Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh have been rewarded for their good recent form with selection, while skipper Aaron Finch will lead a batting line-up that also includes all-rounders Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell.
On the sidelines since January due to injury, Hazlewood had been confident of being fully fit in time for Australia’s Cup opener against Afghanistan on June 1 in Bristol. But with an Ashes series to immediately follow the World Cup, selectors have instead opted for Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff as their five fast-bowling options.
Australia’s World Cup squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa