Sydney: Former skipper Steve Smith and deputy David Warner have walked their way back into the Australian team as the national selectors announced the squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup in England and Wales.
Having served their bans following the Sandpaper Gate fiasco in South Africa in 2018, the two have been currently playing in the Indian Premier League. Aaron Finch will lead the squad. Josh Hazlewood is the only senior player left out as he is still working on his fitness after suffering a stress fracture in January.
Australia have picked five pacers and two spinners in Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson and Nathan Coulter-Nile, Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa. Starc and Richardson’s position will be assessed further as they recover from injuries.
Usman Khawaja, Finch, Alex Carey, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis complete the squad.
Interestingly, there will be a 14-member Australia A team that will be playing against county team during the World Cup and they will provide substitutes if any player in the World Cup team is injured.
Speaking on the selection, chief selector Trevor Hohns said: “Given the depth of talent and competition for spots there were a number of tough calls we had to make to settle on our squad of 15.
“Unfortunately, from the recent squad which toured India and the UAE, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner and Kane Richardson have made way for the above inclusions (Smith, Warner and Starc), but all three have been included in the Australia A squad for the tour of England.
“Josh Hazlewood has also been named in the Australia A squad. Having not played at the highest level for some time, we feel this will provide him with the best preparation to get some quality cricket under his belt. Our focus is to have Josh back bowling at his best for the commencement of a big Ashes Tour.”
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (capt), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Alex Carey, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon.