Steve Smith and David Warner will finally don the green and gold again, having been selected for Australia for the upcoming 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.
Both men are making their return to the international arena after their 12 month bans from the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town last year. Their long-awaited returns, however, have come at the expense of Peter Handscomb and Ashton Turner.
Both Jhye Richardson and Mitchell Starc have been named in the 15-man squad, albeit subject to their fitness. The team will look to defend their historic 5th World Cup win in Australia in 2015, with the tournament beginning on May 30.
David Warner will return to the international fold after a tumultuous year away from the game. His form in the IPL and Bangladesh Premier League has been nothing short of sensational and based on pure numbers, he deserves his spot. Despite some dodgy form for several months in both the test and ODI squads, Aaron Finch has managed to cement his spot in the World Cup team with some stellar performances against Pakistan in the recent tour. He will captain the side, given Smith’s leadership ban stands for a further 12 months.
Despite not being highly regarded as an ODI batsman, Usman Khawaja seems to have timed his run perfectly. Two terrific centuries against India in Australia’s historic comeback series win and further half-centuries against Pakistan forced the selectors’ hand. He’ll be joined by Steve Smith in the middle order, who still sits at number 4 in the Test batting ranking, which sums up the story. He remains one of the world’s best batsmen, despite a year away from the international arena. Shaun Marsh has also been rewarded for his consistency in 2018, despite having a recent lean run with the bat.
While a fair bit has changed with the batting line-up, picking the bowlers appears to have been an easier task for selectors. Naturally, Pat Cummins was rewarded for his career-best form and was always considered an instant lock. Mitchell Starc may have been under a bit of pressure to retain his spot; however, selectors seem to have picked him given his lethal history with the white ball.
The big omission is Josh Hazlewood, who was a member of the 2015 winning squad and has been a lock for the Test squad for several years. Instead, selectors have gone with Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff to back up Cummins and Starc. Adam Zampa and fan-favourite, Nathan Lyon, have been picked as the squad’s two spinners to support the pace attack.
Glenn Maxwell was never really in doubt, especially given some of his recent contributions with the bat in the subcontinent. Marcus Stoinis will join him as the other all-rounder – both players can offer the squad a bit of bowling-depth, depending on the situation. Alex Carey has been selected as the wicket-keeper, showing that the selectors clearly have faith in his abilities, despite his inconsistencies with the bat.