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Monday, 11 March 2019

The impossible Cricket World Cup selection puzzle that looms

The impossible Cricket World Cup selection puzzle that looms

It’s becoming increasingly hard for selectors to find the weak links in Australia’s ODI line-up as they stew over who to tap on the shoulder when Steve Smith and David Warner return.

The two, whose year-long suspensions expire later this month, are fully expected to be included in the 15-man World Cup squad that must be submitted by April 23.

Australia travels to the UAE for a five-match ODI series after Wednesday’s decider against India.
Cricket World Cup Selection
Cricket World Cup Selection

The impossible Cricket World Cup selection puzzle that looms

Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns has a further six ODIs to study before he makes a call.

Ashton Turner, the most inexperienced batsman in the squad, loomed as an obvious omission for the World Cup but his unbeaten 84 is the sort of match-winning innings that will linger long in the mind of Hohns.

Usman Khawaja would have felt nervous a fortnight ago but scored 91 on Sunday and now has 283 runs for the current series, seven short of the world’s best batsman Virat Kohli.

Aaron Finch logged a second-ball duck in Chandigarh but it came two days after the captain scored 93 to shore up his place in the side.

Shaun Marsh has failed to fire in the current series but started the tour as Australia’s form one-day batsman, having produced four centuries from his past nine ODIs.

Glenn Maxwell has played a couple of vital cameos after top-scoring in both Twenty20s at the start of the tour, while Peter Handscomb produced his maiden ODI ton in Australia’s history-making chase.
Australian Cricket World Cup selection
Australian Cricket World Cup selection
“Everyone who is getting an opportunity is taking it, which is all you can ask at this time,” Finch said.

Handscomb, who has averaged 47.85 since being recalled to the one-day team at the start of this year, was thrilled with his knock of 117 but looking no further ahead than the series decider in Delhi.

“I didn’t know if I was ever going to play a one-dayer again. It’s funny how things change,” Handscomb said.

“It was shattering to get dropped from the Test squad ... to now be pushing my case in white-ball cricket, it’s a beautiful feeling.

“How quickly the highs and lows change.”

Smith and Warner, who have both recovered from elbow surgery, will soon link with their Indian Premier League franchises.

Cricket World Cup Rivals

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has conceded he is worried by Australia’s World Cup credentials after it sealed a remarkable ODI win against India.

Rookie batsman Ashton Turner scored an unbeaten 84 off 43 balls to steer Australia to a four-wicket win with 13 balls to spare in pursuit of 359 to win. It was Australia’s greatest ever successful chase and it leveled the five-match series against India at 2-2.

Australia looked dead and buried after only two games but has suddenly unlocked a winning formula - and at a dangerous time too for its Cricket World Cup rivals.

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