Ashton Agar’s persistent calf issue has led to a last-minute change in Australia’s World Cup squad. The 29-year-old, who recently played in an ODI against South Africa in Bloemfontein, will be replaced by seasoned batsman Marnus Labuschagne.
Marnus Labuschagne’s Late Entry
Despite being initially overlooked for Australia’s preliminary World Cup squad, Labuschagne’s recent impressive performances in 50-over cricket against South Africa and India have earned him a late entry. The right-handed batsman will now be part of the 15-player squad representing Australia at the World Cup.
Finalising Australia’s World Cup Squad
The five-time World Cup champions finalised their squad for the six-week tournament on Thursday, making the decision to replace Agar with Labuschagne at the eleventh hour. As per the rules, all participating countries had to submit their final squads to the ICC by September 28, with any subsequent changes requiring approval from the tournament organisers.
Travis Head Retained Despite Injury
Despite a last-minute alteration, Australia chose to retain Travis Head in their squad. The powerful left-handed batsman, who recently fractured his hand, is expected to miss the initial stages of the tournament. However, his place in the squad remains secure, thanks to Labuschagne’s recent form.
Chief Selector’s Statement
George Bailey, the chief selector, explained the decision, stating, “This was a tough call but unfortunately, we couldn’t carry both Travis and Ashton into the tournament with the injuries they have. We have made the decision to carry Travis through the early stages with the aim of him being available around the mid part of the tournament.”
Impact on Australia’s Spin Options
Agar’s absence in India implies that Australia will head to the World Cup with just one specialist spinner in their squad. Experienced all-rounder Glenn Maxwell is expected to support Adam Zampa as spin options.
Australia’s Final World Cup Squad
The final 15-player squad representing Australia at the World Cup includes: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, and Mitchell Starc.
The final squads for the tournament in India will be confirmed today. You can check out the ten squads here.