ICC World Cup 2019: 3 notable misses from the Australian squad
The defending champions Australia have announced their 15-member squad for their title defense at the World Cup 2019
The memories of 90,000 people on their feet at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground cheering on Steve Smith who hit the winning runs in the 2015 World Cup will be afresh in the minds of the Australian fans. However, things have not gone particularly well for them since then.
Australia have tried over 40 different players since 2015 in one-day internationals. They even slipped to number 6 in the team rankings before they took on India in February-March this year - their lowest since 1984.
While the retirement of big guns like Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin etc did not help, the ball-tampering saga added considerably to their woes. The one-year ban on their two key players dented their confidence which led to ineffective planning and poor execution in pressure situations.
But now they seem to have left that tough period behind them, scripting historic ODI series victories against India and Pakistan. With eight ODI wins on a trot, they are back in form and roaring again. Moreover, they know how to win World Cups; if you are writing them off, do it at your own risk!
With the inclusion of Steve Smith and David Warner and an in-form Aaron Finch taking charge, the squad is looking as strong as any in the tournament:
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 and Adam Zampa.
However, there are a few players who will feel really disappointed to have missed out. Here's a look at three of them:
#1 Peter Handscomb
Peter Handscomb has scored 479 runs in 12 innings in 2019 at an average of 43.54. He has been in red-hot form and has played key roles in the Australian victories in recent times.
Handscomb is rated highly for his ability to play spin well and change gears as and when required. He is unorthodox yet effective.
When India toured Australia earlier this year, the young keeper-batsman had a dismal Test series. However, he redeemed himself with a good ODI series scoring 151 runs in 3 matches.
He followed that up with an exceptional performance in the ODI series against the Indians in their own backyard. He scored 236 runs in 5 innings, including a hundred in Australia's highest-ever successful run chase in ODIs.
The selectors have gone for the experience and reputation of Smith over Handscomb. But they have also gone for four pacers apart from Marcus Stoinis, and may be a batsman short in the absence of Handscomb.
Now that he has been omitted from the squad, Australians will be hoping they don't miss him as a back-up keeper option if Alex Carey suffers a niggle.