Australia Considers Additional Spinner for T20 World Cup Squad

Australia's T20 World Cup Squad: Extra Spinner on the Cards?

Australia Considers Additional Spinner for T20 World Cup Squad

Despite not being included in the central contracts announced on Thursday, spinner Ashton Agar remains a strong contender for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, to be held in the Caribbean Islands and USA. This was confirmed by George Bailey, the chairman of Australia Men’s selection.

Agar was noticeably absent from the 23-member contract list, but Bailey believes that the tournament conditions could favor spinners. This opens up the possibility of including a third spinner in the 15-member squad, in addition to Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell.

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“The squad’s balance will likely accommodate a second spinner,” Bailey informed the press. He added that Glenn Maxwell’s prowess as a white-ball spinner is often overlooked, and he is considered a frontline option, not a part-time one.

“Zampa will definitely be there, and there might be an opportunity for one more. We will assemble at the end of April to finalize the squad, and both Stoinis and Ashton Agar will be strong contenders,” Bailey added.

Agar is Australia’s second-highest wicket-taker in T20Is, with 48 wickets at an average of 22.35, trailing only Zampa who has 92 wickets.

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However, Agar hasn’t played a T20I since the T20 World Cup match against Sri Lanka in 2022, where he replaced a Covid-stricken Zampa.

Agar will face tough competition from leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha, who has played in seven T20Is for Australia since the last T20 World Cup. Sangha and Zampa both took 10 wickets in these games, although Zampa played in one more match.

Spin-bowling all-rounder Matthew Short is another potential choice for Australia. Unlike Sangha and Agar, Short was awarded a central contract for the upcoming season.

Chris Green, the off-spinner who made his debut against India last year, is the only other spinner besides Zampa, Maxwell, Short, and Sangha, to have played in T20Is for Australia since the last T20 World Cup.

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If the selectors decide to look beyond the current group, several players stood out in the recent Big Bash League season. Cameron Boyce, who last played a T20I in 2016, and Lloyd Pope, who first gained recognition in the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2018, both had successful seasons in the BBL, taking 14 and 13 wickets respectively.

Mitchell Swepson, who has played across formats until 2022, and Matthew Kuhnemann, who last played in the ICC World Test Championship series against India, are other potential candidates.