West Indies vs Australia: Cricket Australia announces preliminary squad
Cricket Australia has announced a preliminary 23-man squad for the upcoming white-ball tour of the West Indies. The squad includes the players who returned home on May 17 after the postponement of IPL 2021. Notably, Marnus Labuschagne, who is currently playing in the County Championship, will miss the tour owing to travel constraints and quarantine procedures, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marquee players Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins, return after they were rested for the white-ball series against New Zealand. Matthew Wade, who lost his CA contract earlier, has also been named in the squad along with Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh. Wicket-keeper-batsman Josh Philippe, who recently made his Australia debut, will fight for a place in the XI.
All eyes will be on Glenn Maxwell, who starred for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the truncated IPL. RCB skipper Virat Kohli backed him at number four, a decision that reaped dividends. Maxwell smashed 223 runs from seven matches at a strike-rate of 144.81. He would want to replicate the performance against West Indies.
The likes of Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith, and Jason Behrendorff complete Australia's fast-bowling roster. All the five pacers were part of the Indian Premier League. Moreover, the presence of Starc, Cummins, and Hazlewood give CA plenty of opportunities to carve out the perfect squad. Several spinners, including Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Swepson, Tanveer Sangha have also found a place.
Australia will miss the services of top-order batsman Labuschagne. He is presently the leading run-scorer in the ICC World Test Championship, having tallied 1,675 runs at a phenomenal average of 55.85. "Anyone who knows Marnus understands he would give anything to play for Australia and he is deeply upset to miss out due to circumstances beyond anyone's control," the national selector Trevor Horns said.
Australia's preliminary squad for WI tour: Aaron Finch (captain), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, D'Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Australia's white-ball tour will begin in St Lucia. 1st T20I: July 10, Daren Sammy Stadium 2nd T20I: July 11, Daren Sammy Stadium 3rd T20I: July 13, Daren Sammy Stadium 4th T20I: July 15, Daren Sammy Stadium 5th T20I: July 17, Daren Sammy Stadium 1st ODI: July 21, Kensington Oval 2nd ODI: July 23, Kensington Oval 3rd ODI: July 25, Kensington Oval