Can Labuschagne carry form, No Room for Stoinis & Maxwell and more | Australia ODI squad for India tour analysis
Bang in the middle of the T20 season, Australia will play a three-match ODI series against India between January 14 and 19. The Aussie squad has thrown up a few surprises.
5 players from their World Cup squad - Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell and Nathan Lyon - have been dropped and have had to make way for Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Hazlewood, Sean Abbott, Ashton Turner and Ashton Agar.
Marnus Labuschagne set to make ODI debut
The biggest news to come out of Australia's ODI squad announcement is the inclusion of Marnus Labuschagne in the team on the back of his three back-to-back hundreds in Test cricket. The batsman has performed well for his home side Queensland in white-ball cricket as well and it is best to try him when he is at the top of his game.
Head coach Justin Langer also feels that Labuschagne's selection will pay rich dividends: "He's a very good player of spin bowling. We're going to India for three one-dayers, he's a good fielder he bowls leg-spin, he gives us some good options and he's in the form of his life isn't he? Hopefully that's going to work out to be a good selection as well."
There is no reason why Labuschagne can not carry his red-ball form into the ODIs. The only concern is that Australia already have Steve Smith and Peter Handscomb in the mould out of which Labuschagne has been fashioned.
Ashton Agar in for Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa were the two spinners for Australia in the World Cup. While Zampa was part of the XI in the initial matches, Nathan Lyon leapfrogged him in the pecking order in the final few games.
However, with the team thinking long-term, Lyon has been dropped from the squad. Ashton Agar has had a good run in the T20Is against Pakistan and Sri Lanka and his all-round ability makes him a complete package, too good for the team to overlook.
"In terms of the bowling group we are sticking with the combination that are performing well. Sean Abbott and Kane Richardson are in the squad following the successful T20 campaign.
Adam Zampa and his growing combination with Agar is also something the selectors want to see more of while Nathan Lyon remains in the one-day squad selection frame," Trevor Hohns, the national selector said.
Australia to play ODIs first time since WC
Australia were really struggling with their ODI form at one time, in the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner. However, as it came close to the World Cup, all the pieces started to come together for the team and they went on a winning roll. The team managed to make it to semi-finals of the ODI World Cup, which was not strongly anticipated by many.
Post that, the team has focused on the T20 format which is a very sensible move, with back to back T20 World Cups coming up. The team last faced Pakistan and Sri Lanka in two T20I home series and won comprehensively in both of them. This will be the first time that the team will take the field in the 50-over format, post their World Cup defeat against England.
Josh Hazlewood gets a go in place of Nathan Coulter-Nile
Josh Hazlewood could bowl only 8 balls in the first Test against New Zealand after which he pulled his hamstring. It seems that the injury is not very serious which is why he has been selected for the ODI series against India in January.
Hazlewood comes into the side in the place of Nathan Coulter-Nile who did well with the bat for Australia in the World Cup but seemed to have lost the sting with the ball. Hazlewood, who now bowls consistently at 140 kmph and above, is a great line and length bowler known for his consistency.
It will be interesting to see how he fares in the white-ball format. One must not lose sight of the fact that before failing to make the World Cup squad despite recovering from injury, Hazlewood was the number one ranked ODI bowler at one point.
Glenn Maxwell axed
The good news is that Glenn Maxwell is back from his mental health break and will be available to play the entire length of the Big Bash League, where he will captain Melbourne Stars. It may not be such a bad thing for Maxwell to not be picked for the ODIs. This will help him play in his home conditions and focus on franchise cricket for the time being.
While coach Justin Langer was very happy about Maxwell returning to competitive cricket, his honest reasoning for not picking the Million Dollar Baby in the ODI squad is his lack of form. Maxi was good against Pakistan in UAE but his performances in the World Cup (average: 22.12) and a few series before that had not been great, which is why he will have to sit out for this one.
All-rounder Marcus Stoinis has also been dropped after his indifferent form and side strain troubles.
Australia squad - Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (vc, wk), Pat Cummins (vc), Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa
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