Australia squad preview, every player analysed, West Indies, USA, fixture, cricket news

With Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign officially starting tomorrow, their 15-man squad is as locked and loaded as it can be before their opener against minnows Oman.

Its squad for the month-long tournament across the West Indies and America is filled with a plethora of experience, with some of Australia’s greatest players in the modern era set to say one final goodbye in international colours before calling time on their decorative careers.

Led by newly appointed captain Mitch Marsh, the Aussies will be hoping to secure the trophy which would incredibly leave the country in possession of every major cricketing trophy across both Men’s and Women’s competitions for the first time in the sport’s history.

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Australia is currently in possession of the Men’s ODI World Cup (won in 2023), Women’s ODI World Cup (2022) and Women’s T20 World Cup (2023) – as well as the Men’s and Women’s Ashes (2023), however despite its widely recognised symbolism in global cricket, is only played against England. Subsequently, Australia’s squad is on the brink of uncharted territory this month; with a squad that is undoubtedly capable of making history that may never be achieved again.

Australia has been drawn in Group B with England, Scotland, Namibia and Oman before their expected progression through to the final eight teams.

Below reads the 15-man squad Australia has selected to help retain the T20 World Cup they won back in 2021, only to lose to England a year later on home soil.
Each player’s recent form, role in the squad and attributes that suit the Caribbean conditions is below:

Ashton Agar

Age: 30

Role: Bowling all-rounder

To some, Ashton Agar’s selection in the 15-man World Cup squad was a surprise. However, his characteristics as a left-arm orthodox bowler should play well into the hands of the Caribbean conditions throughout the tournament. With 48 T20 international wickets at an average of 22.38, it’s easy to see why selectors went in favour of bringing the bowling all-rounder on board for the series.

Despite having not played an international T20 since October 2022, Agar has been seen by coaches as a versatile option in all three skill sets. His batting, bowling and fielding have been on show at the top level in bursts for over a decade now; and could be crucial in providing much needed depth to a team that already has so much X-factor. Agar surprisingly opened the batting in an unofficial warm-up match against the West Indies last week, and hit 28 off 13 balls – including two sixes.

The role he plays throughout the World Cup may not be as prolific as other spinners or all-rounders in the squad, but it seems likely he will feature at some stage for the Aussies in their quest to win back the T20 World Cup.

Agar has only played sporadically for Australia in the last 18 months across all formats, but is still an important asset in their white-ball set up (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Pat Cummins

Age: 31

Role: Bowling all-rounder

The current Australian test captain has proven in years gone by he is a commendable contributor in the shortest form of the game, with the sentiment arguably packed by IPL franchise the Sunrisers Hyderabad, who paid just under $2.5 million for his services in this year’s tournament. In a league that has recently provided jaw-dropping run rates for batting sides, Cummins was one of the most economic bowlers in the recent edition of the IPL – a great tune up for the T20 World Cup.

Funnily, Cummins holds the equal-second fastest fifty in IPL history – bashing one off just 14 balls in 2022 for a whirlwind knock. Australian fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that his services with the bat aren’t required often, if at all, but they’re there if things get desperate. While not captain in the shorter form, Cummins will still be able to assist Marsh on field as a leader and great thinker of the game. If Australia do take out the title, you can be sure Cummins will have played a significant role in helping win it.

Tim David

Age: 28

Role: Middle-order bat

Averaging a tick under 40 at an eye-watering strike rate of 163.63 in T20 internationals, Tim David is arguably one of the biggest X-factors across the tournament. Oddly undersold by some pundits, David’s success also extends to IPL franchise the Mumbai Indians and country of birth Singapore, where he played 14 international T20’s between 2019 and 2020.

A middle-order batter, David will likely play the role as a closer behind Glenn Maxwell in the starting XI. His particular strength hitting straight and through cow corner is one to watch on the traditionally low and slow pitches in the West Indies. While yet to bowl for Australia at international level, he has had small bursts of success with his right-arm off-spin for Big Bash League (BBL) franchise the Hobart Hurricanes – and presents as a left-field option with the ball is captain Mitch Marsh ever needs it.

Tim David among the stars for Mumbai | 01:23

Nathan Ellis

Age: 29

Role: Pace bowler

A cagey right-arm quick, Nathan Ellis acts as a point of difference in the squad for his bowling. Rewarded with selection in the tournament for his ever-consistent performances in the BBL, Ellis may not see a whole lot of game time given the presence of Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, but he is a very fit replacement if and when called upon.

His 24 wickets in T20 internationals from just 14 games stands out on the stat sheet when compared to both others with similar experience. Additionally, his bowling action, given its uncanny nature, can make it hard for batters unfamiliar with his work to score. When injected into the tournament, expect most of his wickets to come through hitting stumps and pads of opposition batters, predominantly due to his ‘skiddy’ release.

Cameron Green

Age: 25

Role: Batting all-rounder

The Australian cricket love child of the current era, and with good reason. While relatively unseen at international level in T20 cricket, Green did have a sudden burst of form against India in 2022 – right before the World Cup in Australia, where he did not take part. Two rapid-fire fifties while opening the batting proved he can perform against quality opposition; however, he is unlikely to bat so high up in the order this time around if selected.

Green provides great depth to the squad for his batting, bowling and fielding – but he is also expected to be behind Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell come their first match against Oman. His bowling would likely act as a risk-versus-reward play – as seen previously at Test match level – where his pace and bounce can help ‘bump out’ batters and have them caught in the outfield.

This tournament could well act as more of a learning experience than anything for him, and at just 25 years of age, has plenty more T20 World Cups to play a greater role for in the future.

Green whacked a 19-ball fifty against India back in 2022 on foreign soil (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Josh Hazlewood

Age: 33

Role: Pace bowler

A former world number one T20 international bowler, Hazelwood greatest strength in Test cricket is the same as it is in the shorter formats – consistency. His economy rate of 7.68 from 45 T20I’s is, much like Cummins, impressive. Also, similarly to Ellis, the wickets traditionally tossed up in the Caribbean should suit his style of bowling more than the likes of Cummins and Starc due to his release point and trajectory when bowling.

With four four-wicket hauls for Australia in the format, Hazlewood can also skittle an opposition at the click of a finger. His experience across all formats will go a long way to helping consolidate a mature attack when things inevitably get tough at some point during the tournament. How he uses his variations will be crucial in his eventual output, with his consistency ironically on occasion his downfall, given its predictability.

Travis Head

Age: 30

Role: Top-order batter, part-time bowler

As seen on the global stage countless times now, Travis Head is as big a danger man as any batter in world cricket. A dominant IPL campaign of late will leave him with plenty of confidence, however his ultra-aggressive style can also expose the middle order earlier than hoped – as seen at the back end of this season’s IPL.

Sheer, raw pace has been touted as his biggest weakness, but on the low and slow wickets predicted for the series, it shouldn’t act as too much of an issue given short-pitch bowling should logically be less intimidating. An exceptional fielder on his best day and a handy option with the ball, Head could well be doing it all for the Aussies in the coming month. Head is expected to open the batting with David Warner for – at the very least – the start of the tournament.

Head smashes 89 of just 30 deliveries! | 01:34

Josh Inglis

Age: 29

Role: Wicketkeeper-bat

As of the time of writing, there is no certainty on either Inglis or fellow wicketkeeper Matthew Wade’s place in the side as the preferred gloveman. Inglis’ 55 off 30 balls (five fours, four sixes) against the West Indies in a warm-up match could be a deciding factor in his potential selection, with years of BBL form and a surging international century against India late last year valid reasons for his picking.

Should he not be chosen as the initial wicketkeeper for the tournament, Inglis may still play a role as a batter at times throughout. As aforementioned, his ceiling at the top level is evidently high, and he could be useful to form a left-handed, right-handed combination when opening the batting with one of Warner or Head.

Mitch Marsh (captain)

Age: 32
Role: Batting all-rounder

The new permanent skipper of the World Cup side, Mitchell Marsh has the chance to make sure of the ultimate redemption story in modern era cricket. Regularly taunted by fans and critics during his more junior playing days, Marsh’s return to stardom arguably became real back in the 2021 World Cup that Australia won in the Middle East, where he averaged over 60 and hit a defiant 77 not out off 50 balls to steer his country home to a maiden T20 title.

Since then, Marsh has maintained an astounding level of form across all formats. He will almost certainly line up at first drop for Australia to begin with, and given the risky, attacking nature of Warner and Head, should still play a vital role in his side’s powerplay overs with the bat. While he isn’t as likely to feature with ball in hand as he once was, Marsh’s impact away from the back will still come from his tactical nous and leadership. With all of Australia behind him, Marsh may still be yet to have his finest moment yet in green and gold.

Marsh’s performance in the 2021 T20 World Cup Final saw him awarded Player of the Match (Photo by Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images)Source: Getty Images

Glenn Maxwell

Age: 35
Role: Batting all-rounder

‘The Big Show’ will be hoping to find his form of the 2023 World Cup in India, in what was one of the most incredible displays of batting in the history of white-ball cricket. Unfortunately for Maxwell, his recent IPL stint was extremely dry on runs and limited in opportunity with the ball – creating a slight sense of unknown leading into the tournament.

Softer match-ups to begin the series may be what the veteran needs to regain his form of seven months ago, and history suggests he is more than capable of doing so. Niggling back issues have recently kept Maxwell from being at full fitness, but a nice rest since the IPL will hopefully allow him to field at his full potential, which has previously seen him win games for his country. While slightly under the pump, he should fire come crunch time.

Mitchell Starc

Age: 34

Role: Pace bowler

The third of the fast bowlers and sole left-arm seamer, Mitchell Starc is certainly the deadliest of the trio at his best. Renowned for his white-ball craft above anything else, Starc showed the IPL why he was sold for $4.43 million with two clutch performances in the final two games of the series; ultimately winning his Kolkata Knight Riders the title last month.

His occasionally erratic bowling has seen him leak runs with the new ball before, but given his recent IPL form, there couldn’t have been a better time for him to continue his run in international colours. His 74 T20I wickets speak for themselves, and only add to the fear that so many batters at international level feel when Starc is at the top of his bowling mark. In what could be his last international tournament, Starc is as capable of making the series his own with a world-class display of bowling.

Mitchell Starc leads KKR to IPL title | 03:12

Marcus Stoinis

Age: 34

Role: Batting all-rounder

The place of Marcus Stoinis in Australia’s side has been hotly debated in recent years, with his talent and ceiling undoubtedly high. However, his output hasn’t always been as promising, and at times left the door ajar for the likes of Cam Green, Tim David or Ashton Agar to take his place. Nonetheless, an in-form Stoinis comes into this World Cup with a rich vein of form; including an absurd 124 not out off just 63 balls for Lucknow back in April.

His bowling has also been proven serviceable at times, delivering during the middle overs to help give his captains greater flexibility at the back end of an innings. With Australia’s middle order the only unclear aspect of their World Cup side this tournament, whether Stoinis starts in the side remains to be seen – but he is no doubt an asset for Mitch Marsh on multiple fronts, should he be picked.

Matthew Wade

Age: 36

Role: Wicketkeeper-bat

Much like his captain, Wade played a crucial role In Australia’s 2021 title with a match-closing knock in their semi-final against Pakistan. The former Test wicketkeeper is still well and truly up for the fight, as shown in recent BBL campaigns, but how he fits into the side is he isn’t taking gloves remains to be seen.

His experience and grit is made for the big stage, and he may be called upon as a replacement for any initial under-performers in the middle order. While signed with the Gujarat Titans in this year’s IPL, Wade only played two matches and batted once; leaving his current state of form a mystery to many.

Wade has delivered for Australia before on the T20 World Cup stage, guiding Australia home in an epic semi-final back in 2021 alongside fellow squad member Marcus Stoinis (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

David Warner

Age: 37
Role: Top-order batter

In what looks to almost certainly be his last rodeo at international level, the writing is on the wall for one final David Warner special. Scoring just one fifty from his eight IPL appearances may seem light on paper, but Warner has delivered some of his finest knocks in patches where form has been ultra-thin.

His 54 not out off 21 balls against Namibia in a warm-up match would be good for his confidence, but realistically doesn’t mean a whole lot. Coming into the tournament with 3,099 T20I career runs at an average of 33.68 and strike rate of 142.67, there aren’t many, if any, more qualified for an opening role in the tournament. The slower wickets may take a match or two to get used to, but expect dominance to any loose spin bowling that comes his way – no matter how early in the innings. His fielding is also as good as Maxwell’s on any given day, and has similarly won games for Australia – crucially the ODI World Cup semi-final against South Africa alongside teammate Marnus Labuschagne.

Adam Zampa

Age: 32

Role: Leg-spin bowler

One of Australia’s greatest weapons in white-ball cricket this last decade, Zampa has a massive opportunity to etch his name into yet another world trophy with his wrist spin. Consistency will be the key for Zampa, who went through fluctuations of form during last year’s ODI World Cup in conditions that will somewhat mimic that in the West Indies and America.

Regularly looking to have the ball thrown to him in critical stages of the match, Zampa will often be looked upon by captain Mitch marsh when the going gets tough to get his side a breakthrough. A certain starter in the side against Oman on Thursday, it’s hard to see an Australian World Cup victory where he doesn’t play a prolific role in the success.

Zampa bags four wickets in 9-ball burst | 01:54

Travelling reserves: Jake Fraser McGurk and Matthew Short

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