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No Labuschagne as Australia name preliminary squad for ICC World Cup

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MELBOURNE: Marnus Labuschagne was left out of Australia’s preliminary squad for the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 while uncapped leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha and WA allrounder Aaron Hardie got surprise call-ups.

Cricket Australia (CA) today named an extended 18-man squad for the ICC Men’s World Cup that will later be trimmed to 15, with a five-match series in South Africa in September the first assignment.

Marnus Labuschagne is the most notable omission from the 50-over squad having played 30 of Australia’s 38 matches since his debut in January 2020, with an average of 31.37.

Labuschagne had a strong start to his ODI career in 2020, scoring 40 or more in six of his first eight innings. But since then his performance at the 50-over level significantly deteriorated.

But it is not yet over for the fifth-ranked Test batter as selection chair George Bailey can still make his way back, having the opportunity to feature for Australia A to “focus on some white-ball cricket”.

“It is form-based. We know Marnus at his best is good enough to hold down a spot in the one-day team, we just haven’t seen enough of it consistently in the role that we’d like him to do,” Bailey told reporters.

“Leading into the World Cup there’s some opportunities for some others to get a bit more game time in there.

“We’ve been really clear with Marnus; he’s going to be part of some Australia A games at the same time so he can focus on some white-ball cricket.”

Besides Marnus Labuschagne’s exclusion, the inclusion of uncapped leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha and Aaron Hardie were the other surprise calls made by the Australian selection committee.

Australia will bolster their preparations for this year’s ICC Men’s World Cup with a five-match ODI series against and players like Sangha and Hardie are highly likely to get an opportunity to justify their selection.

Sangha, who has been a part of Australia’s contingents in their recent T20I tours, is yet to earn a debut cap. But on spin-friendly conditions in India, he can be turned out a value addition to Australia’s spin attack, featuring Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa.

Hardie will certainly face competition for all-rounder spots on Australia’s team in India from players like Mitch Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, and Glenn Maxwell.

George Bailey before terming the squad well-balanced, expressed confidence that Australia can add up to their World Cup title tally, having previously won in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015.

“This side has been extremely impressive for several years in limited-overs cricket,” Bailey said.

“There is an enormous amount of skill and experience in the group, which you need in a World Cup.”

Australia preliminary ODI squad for ICC Men’s World Cup: Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

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