Steve Smith and David Warner are set to return to international cricket as both are named in 15-man World Cup squad of Australia on Monday. In-form batsman Peter Handscomb and pacer Josh Hazlewood are two big names who have missed the cut.
The return of Smith and Warner was expected and it was always tight for Handscomb to find a place in the World Cup squad after their return. For his part, Handscomb had a successful last year both as a batsman as well as a wicket-keeper but he was never considered good enough to find a place ahead of Smith and Warner.
Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh have been included in the squad, which is a reward for their good form in the recent games. Aaron Finch will lead the team, which will have Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis as the all-rounders. Ashton Turner and D'Arcy Short are also not included in the side and Alex Carey will be the only wicketkeeper on tour.
Meanwhile, pacer Hazlewood, who is out of action since January due to injury, was confident of recovering before the World Cup but the selectors decided to give him rest keeping Ashes in mid.
Announcing the 15-man squad, Chairman of Selectors, Trevor Hohns, said that both Steve Smith and David Warner are returning to the squad as they are world class players. Hohns added that the selectors were happy to see the performance of the duo in the ongoing Indian Premier League.
"Given the depth of talent and competition for spots there were a number of tough calls we had to make to settle on our squad of 15. Unfortunately, from the recent squad which toured India and the UAE, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner and Kane Richardson have made way for the above inclusions, but all three have been included in the Australia A squad for the tour of England. Josh Hazlewood has also been named in the Australia A squad. Having not played at the highest level for some time, we feel this will provide him with the best preparation to get some quality cricket under his belt. Our focus is to have Josh back bowling at his best for the commencement of a big Ashes Tour," Hohns was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff are the five pacers in the line-up, while Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa will take care of the spin department.
Australia's World Cup squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa