Australia omit Labuschagne from World Cup squad; Sangha, Hardie included

Australia has made some unexpected selections in their 18-player squad for this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup scheduled to be held in India.

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Surprisingly, uncapped leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha and another inexperienced all-rounder Aaron Hardie have been included in the squad. Meanwhile, Test batter Marnus Labuschagne has been left out, according to an ICC report. The final squad of 15 players will be announced just before the tournament’s start on October 5. This is in line with ICC regulations that require squads to be finalised before September 28. Australia’s first match in the World Cup will be against hosts India in Chennai on October 8.

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Skipper Pat Cummins is on a path to recovery for the opening contest, after suffering a fractured wrist during the recent Ashes series against England. Cummins has been advised to rest for six weeks as he hopes to return to play before the World Cup begins.

Chief selector George Bailey revealed Cummins’ injury as “an undisplaced fracture of his left radius which requires six weeks of rehabilitation,” but also sees the enforced rest as a positive for his preparation ahead of the tournament.

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To prepare for the World Cup, Australia will compete in a five-match series against South Africa next month. This will serve as crucial playtime for youngsters like Tanveer and Hardie.

Tanveer, who has been part of previous T20I tours for Australia, is yet to make his debut and could add another spin option alongside Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa, considering the spin-friendly pitches in India.

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Hardie will likely compete for all-rounder positions with players such as Mitch Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, and Glenn Maxwell. Labuschagne’s omission comes as a major surprise since he has missed only eight 50-over contests for his country since his debut in early 2020.

Despite these unexpected selections and exclusions, Bailey believes the squad is well-balanced and is confident in Australia’s chances to claim a sixth World Cup title. Australia has a strong track record in limited-overs cricket, having won the tournament in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2015.

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Australia’s preliminary ICC World Cup squad

Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

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