Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Aussies facing player shortage for Cup warm-ups | cricket.com.au

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‘A lot of energy’: Marsh hyped for World Cup charge

Australia could have as few as eight players available for their T20 World Cup warm-up match against Namibia and may be forced to use support staff as substitute fielders.

The tight turnaround between the end of the Indian Premier League and their World Cup campaign in the Caribbean has left them short-handed for their two warm-up games against Namibia (on Wednesday morning 9am AEST) and West Indies (Friday) in Trinidad.

Australia has instead prioritised a break and some rest for the Aussies who took part in the IPL finals. 

The trio who played in last night’s final – Travis Head, Pat Cummins and player of the match Mitchell Starc – as well as Cameron Green and Glenn Maxwell, will not link up with the World Cup squad until nearer the end of the week in Barbados.

A sixth squad member, Marcus Stoinis, who played for Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL, is also yet to touch down. He is expected to arrive in Trinidad only after the Namibia practice match.

Travelling reserves Jake Fraser-McGurk and Matt Short are not set to join the squad until after Australia’s first match of the tournament proper, against Oman on June 5. ICC rules would have prevented them from playing in the warm-ups anyway.

Australia is unfussed at the situation, reflecting the low-key nature of the warm-up matches. In a change from previous events, teams were able to nominate if they even wanted a match, with England, Pakistan and New Zealand all opting out, while South Africa have scheduled an intra-squad match only. Only the India-Bangladesh warm-up will be televised, and only select others will have any highlights available.

Australia are banking that their decision to let their IPL stars get at least a couple of nights at home before joining their squad will help them refresh and avoid burning out.

“We’re going to be undermanned,” captain Mitch Marsh told cricket.com.au. “But it is a practice game.

“The guys who need to play will play as much as they can and we’ll figure it out from there.

“It’s important to be flexible. Guys who have been at the IPL have been playing a lot of cricket.

“We prioritised giving them a couple of days at home to see their families, refresh, and play the long game for this tournament. We’ve also got guys that have played in the final tonight (Monday morning AEST).

“We will get our 15 (all together) eventually, but really important that we give them a break, even if it’s just a couple of days at home, that’s really important.”

Marsh is no certainty to play against Namibia himself as he recovers from a hamstring injury, though he moved well in a series of running and fielding drills during a light session at Queen’s Park Oval on Sunday.

If the skipper plays against Namibia, Australia will have nine squad members available.

The ICC dictates that players taking to the field in the warm-up games, which are not official T20Is and which teams can use up to 15 players in, must be from the country they are representing, which rules out using local substitutes as they have done in the past in tour matches during bilateral series.

It means support staff like Andrew McDonald, Brad Hodge, George Bailey (all former international cricketers) and Andre Borovec (an ex-first grade wicketkeeper) might be required to run around in the field.

The flipside to Australia’s IPL players coming off a heavy schedule of matches is that many of the remaining squad members are in need of match practice.

None of Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa, Ashton Agar and Josh Inglis have played a competitive game since the end of the southern hemisphere season in March.

Matthew Wade at training in Trinidad // cricket.com.au

Others like Matthew Wade and Nathan Ellis rode the bench for majority of the IPL. 

Marsh has not played since leaving the IPL nearly a month ago due to injury and is yet to resume bowling.

His bowling stints have reduced in international white-ball cricket in recent years when featuring in the same side as fellow allrounders Stoinis, Green and Maxwell.

But he would need to be available to chip in overs if Australia follow through on coach Andrew McDonald’s suggestion they might only play three specialist bowlers in the right conditions.

 

“I’m probably still a little while off (bowling) – I’ll start bowling hopefully soon. Get through these practice games as a batter and then we’ll ramp it up,” said Marsh.

“We’re lucky that we’ve got so many options with the ball and so much talent with Stoin, Greeny. I’ll bowl when I need to bowl.

“I thought (this injury) was a three-weeker. Now it’s been seven (weeks). With tendons it’s a little bit on feel.

“Once I was ruled out of the IPL, we certainly took our time. I’m exactly where I need to be with all the planning leading into the World Cup, I’ll be ready to go.”

2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup

Australia’s squad: Mitch Marsh (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

Australia’s warm-up fixtures

May 29: v Namibia, Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad & Tobago, 9am AEST

May 31: v West Indies, Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad & Tobago, 9am AEST

Australia’s Group B fixtures

June 6: v Oman, Kensington Oval, Barbados, 10.30am AEST

June 9: v England, Kensington Oval, Barbados, 3am AEST

June 12: v Namibia, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua, 10.30am AEST

June 16: v Scotland, Daren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia, 10.30am AEST

Super Eights, finals to follow if Australia qualify

For the full list of fixtures click here. All matches live and exclusive on Prime Video. Sign up here for a 30-day free trial

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