India bound: Australia lock in squad for 2023 World Cup
Australia named a preliminary squad of 18 players for the 50-over showcase last month, but reduced that to 15 on Wednesday with the start of this year's event in India now less than one month away.
The unlucky trio to miss the final cut were all-rounder Aaron Hardie, pacer Nathan Ellis and young spinner Tanveer Sangha, with selectors instead opting for experience with the majority of their final 15. Test star Marnus Labuschagne also misses out on making the trip.
Fast bowler Pat Cummins will once again lead the side - with experienced quicks Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc providing him support with the new ball - while Sean Abbott is preferred over Ellis for the final spot in the squad as back-up pacer. Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa provide the spinning options.
There were few surprises among the batters, with David Warner, Steve Smith and Travis Head likely to be used among the top-order and all-rounders Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Cameron Green adding some depth to a high-quality batting line-up.
Alex Carey and Josh Inglis are the two keepers in the squad, with Carey the first choice after he performed admirably at the last World Cup in England and Wales in 2019.
Australia are currently in South Africa preparing for a five-game ODI series against the Proteas, before they travel to the sub-continent for a three-match ODI series against India at the end of this month.
They will then get further practice prior to the World Cup with official warm-up fixtures against the Netherlands and Pakistan, with their first clash at this year's event coming against hosts India in Chennai on October 8.
While a handful of Australia stars have niggling injuries to overcome, selection chair George Bailey believes all 15 players in the squad will take some part in the India series at the backend of this month and be declared fit prior to the final squad being submitted to the ICC on September 28.
"Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell are on track in their return to play programs. All are well placed to come back online in the coming weeks and potentially for selection in the upcoming series against India," Bailey said.
“There are eight one-day matches still to play in South Africa and India before the final squad is due to be declared. They are followed by two World Cup practice games, which offers plenty of opportunity to continue the build for the tournament.”
Australia World Cup squad: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc.