Cricket World Cup 2019: Steve Smith, David Warner named in Australia squad

Steve Smith and David Warner.
Steve Smith and David Warner. Photo credit: AAP

David Warner and Steve Smith have been named in Australia's Cricket World Cup squad, while Josh Hazlewood has missed out.

Warner and Smith have both been returned to the fold from their 12-month bans under captain Aaron Finch, while Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja have been retained as batsmen, with Peter Handscomb dropped.

The biggest shock though is the omission of Hazlewood, who hasn't played a one-dayer for Australia since November due to injury, but can lay claim to being one of the team's best bowlers over the past two years.

His 17 wickets over that period have come at a team-low average of 25.05, while his economy rate of 5.01 is second only to Pat Cummins among the quicks.

Chief selector Trevor Hohns made it clear the panel want Hazlewood to focus on being fit and firing for the subsequent Ashes series in England, as he returns from a back injury.

He has been selected in the Australia 'A' squad that will play in England during the World Cup.

"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," Hohns said.

"Our focus is to have Josh back bowling at his best for the commencement of a big Ashes tour."

Fellow paceman Jhye Richardson and Mitchell Starc were included in the World Cup squad, as they prepare to return after shoulder dislocation and pectoral injuries respectively.

Richardson's undeniable recent ODI form, which included 17 wickets in eight matches, no doubt made the decision to overlook Hazlewood somewhat easier.

Coulter-Nile and Behrendorff will likely be the back up quicks, while Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon have both been picked as spinning options.

The biggest questions will likely surround Australia's batting line up, when Australia opens its World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on June 1, with Finch, Khawaja and Warner in a three-way battle to open the batting.

Finch and Usman Khawaja have averaged 81 for the opening stand in 10 games together in the past year - the highest of any regular combination over the past 12 months.

But Warner looks in devastating form, topping the Indian Premier League run-scoring lists with 400 at an average of 80, while batting at the top of the order for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Khawaja could realistically drop to number three, with Smith to bat at four, before allrounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis fight with Shaun Marsh for spots in the middle order.      

Australia's Cricket World Cup squad: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon.


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