Finch. Smith. Warner. Marsh. Maxwell. Handscombe. Stoinis. Khawaja. Turner. Can they all fit in the Australian World Cup Squad for the 2019 tournament in England? The answer from me is NO one must miss. The squad that the Aussies have in the UAE plus Starc, Smith and Warner is just about a fait-accompli.
Aaron Finch is a lock now that he has just got back to back hundreds and a 90 last night in the UAE against Pakistan. For me he had to go regardless but has put any critics to bed for good. Finch has shown that form is certainly temporary and that class is permanent. Finch will skipper the Aussies in the quest to defend their title as ODI World Champions.
David Warner returned to the IPL for the Sunrisers Hydrabad on Sunday evening with a compelling 85 (53 rocks) against KKR and has to come into this squad and play. The bloke is one of the best bats in the World and even after 12 months on the local scene whilst serving his suspension will come back and make an enormous impact for the Aussies. Steve Smith has returned also the IPL for this season for the Rajasthan Royals and will no doubt reclaim his match winning form quickly to have him in good touch for the World Cup. He must be chomping at the bit to get back into the Aussie colours in a big tournament as this.
The conjecture of my final spot is between three, Turner, Handscombe & Darcy Short. The fact that the selectors didn’t take Short to the UAE or India says that he misses. Handscombe was sublime last evening in the UAE vs Pakistan. Head and hands looked in sync and he showed that he can mix it at this level BUT will miss out, just! Turner just has to go. He can be as devastating as a Butler or Bairstow on the big stage at 6 or 7 should he get an opportunity.
Stoinis has bumped Mitch Marsh and has delivered in spades over the last couple of months. Has an abundance of confidence in his own game with bat and ball and can bat high or deep in the innings around the “Big Show” Maxy. Maxy… what a player he is!!! This tournament will be his for the taking. He can light it up!!! Handy with the ball and will play as the second spinner if needed and the selectors go with the extra quick over Lyon. Maxy to be one of the players of the tournament for me. BUT selectors please DON’T hide him too deep for the entire tournament in the batting line up. I think a couple of hits at 4 in the early parts of the tournament are going to create great flexibility for the Aussies and keep the opposition guessing.
The keeping spot is an easy one although not overly convincing. Alex Carey will be the man for the job. The selectors just won’t change now for the county’s most inform man Matthew Wade.
The spin duo of Zampa and Lyon is very very good. The Aussies will need to take Lyon. The tracks and conditions in the UK should should swing and seam we think, but does anyone remember the 2015 Ashes tour? The wickets were docile and dust bowls to curb the Aussie quicks. With the poms not having an amazing bowling line up this year and boast a huge batting department that can chase down anything that is set, I expect the wickets to be more spin friendly. With this in mind Lyon must go. Zampa has had a terrific tour of India and now the UAE so is the starter in the team for sure.
The quicks…. Jhye Richardson, what an untimely shoulder injury! What a bugger. He is super exciting and for me was a walk up start on this tour. So now the door is ajar for Kane Richardson or Nathan Coulter-Nile. Like Coulter-Nile or not, the selectors seem to see more in him than I??! Richo for me gets the nod with Cummins of course, Starc comes back in and I think that Behrendorff is a project that we have to invest in and take.
So… who is in your squad for the World Cup?
Here is my squad of 15
In closing for me the Aussies will do well and much better than anyone could have expected 6 weeks ago. They are in form and the belief is high. No surprises that India, England and Australia with the dangerous West Indies will be my semi finalists. England can win it this year and take home a title on home soil. It is shaping to be a ripping World Cup.