|Smith, Warner back for Oz WC defence|
SYDNEY, April 16: Ball-tamperers Steve Smith and David Warner were on Monday selected for Australia’s World Cup squad, but there was no room for Josh Hazlewood or Peter Handscomb.
It is the first call-up for the former captain and his deputy since the expiry late last month of year-long bans for their part in the “sandpapergate” scandal in Cape Town that rocked cricket.
They were eligible for the final two games of Australia’s recent limited-overs tour against Pakistan, but selectors preferred that they eased themselves back at the Twenty20 Indian Premier League.
Both grabbed the opportunity and have been in good touch, particularly the bombastic Warner who has made a blistering return.
It left coach Justin Langer with a dilemma on the back of the defending World Cup champions winning eight one-day internationals on the trot, against India and Pakistan.
All the top order have been firing, and it is Handscomb who is the fall guy despite averaging 43 in 13 games this year. The decision to drop him means the team only has one wicketkeeper in Alex Carey.
“We have been extremely pleased with how the ODI squad has been building over the past six months, including the recent series wins in India and against Pakistan in the UAE,” said chief selector Trevor Hohns.
“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.” – AFP
The squad: Aaron Finch (capt), Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa Australia A squad: Travis Head (capt), Matthew Wade, Will Pucovski, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner, Mitch Marsh, D’Arcy Short, Kurtis Patterson, Ashton Agar, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood, Kane Richardson, Sean Abbott