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Cricket World Cup 2023

Labuschagne out, uncapped options in – five takeaways from Australia’s World Cup squad

Tanveer Sangha, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith
by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

Australia have named their provisional squad for the fifty-over World Cup later this year in India, with some new faces and notable omissions announced.

Pat Cummins is expected to be fit to captain the campaign, despite the broken wrist he sustained in the final Ashes Test match. Eighteen players have been named in the squad, which is also the group to tour South Africa and India ahead of the World Cup. The squad will have to be narrowed down to 15 for the final group.

Australia provisional squad for 2023 World Cup: Pat Cummins (c), David Warner, Travis Head, Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh, Cam Green, Aaron Hardie, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Sean Abbott, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Tanveer Sangha


With Australia looking for their sixth title and first since 2015, here are five takeaways from the squad.

Labuschagne loses out

Marnus Labuschagne has been omitted from the squad after a series of underwhelming innings over the 18 months. His only ODI century was over three years ago, and the two ODI innings he has played this year yielded scored of 15 and 28.

The rate at which he scores his runs should also be examined: while his overall strike rate is 83, his year-on-year rate has fallen with every year. Since January 2022, his runs have come at a strike rate of 75. He has also particularly struggled batting in Asia. where he averages 29.

Options they have to replace him in the middle order include Head. While Head has played his most recent ODI cricket as an opener, there is scope for him to switch roles. There is also Maxwell, who has batted only once in ODIs since September 2022. Australia can also opt to go with an all-rounder heavy approach, with Marsh, Green and Stoinis all middle-order options.

Uncapped U19 stars included

Australia have included the uncapped Tanveer Sangha and Aaron Hardie in the squad. Leg-spinner Sangha was Australia’s leading wicket-taker at the 2020 U19 World Cup, in which Australia reached the quarter-finals, and is currently playing with Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred as Shadab Khan’s campaign comes to an end. He hasn’t played professional cricket in 12 months after sustaining a back fracture, but will push for selection against the other two spinners named among the 18.

Fast-bowling all-rounder Hardie has been on the fringes of national selection for several years. Having spent the past couple of years somewhat in Green’s shadow, he had a breakout year in 2022. He was the leading run scorer in the latest season of the Big Bash, finishing the tournament with an average of 41.81. With a plethora of all rounders in the squad, he will have to outperform several established names to make the final 15.

Spinners miss out

Sangha’s selection means Mitchell Swepson and Matt Kuhnemann continue to slip down the pecking order. Both played in subcontinental ODI tours last year, but have now been overlooked for a bigger challenge in similar conditions. Kuhnemann can feel the most aggrieved. He took six wickets in four matches in Sri Lanka at 5.02 runs an over. If Sangha is selected in the final squad, it will be a remarkable rise above several who were expected to be picked over his 12 months ago.

Leadership group expands

Cummins’ broken wrist will result in a six week layoff, with uncertainty over how many of Australia’s warm-up matches he’ll be able to play. He has only led in two ODIs since being named captain in that format. While CA haven’t named a vice-captain or backup option in case his wrist doesn’t recover in time, there are several options.

Marsh has been named T20I captain for the tour of South Africa, while Smith remains a senior presence. He led the side in last year’s ODIs in India while Cummins was on compassionate leave. Carey has also previously captained the side.

Nathan Ellis takes final quicks place

Ellis only came into the Australia ODI squad last year in the absence of Cummins, Hazlewood, and an injured Jhye Richardson. He only played once on that tour, taking two wickets in five overs, having previously played three games in 2022. While you would think Australia will drop one fast bowler from the 18 before naming their final squad, it’s an incredible rise for Ellis to have the opportunity to force his way into the World Cup.

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