Aussie World Cup picture clouded

A fresh injury concern for Ashton Agar could put boom spinner Tanveer Sangha closer to a World Cup call-up after the 21-year-old added an ODI debut to his T20 call-up in South Africa.

Agar, who joined the touring party late after battling a calf issue, missed the third ODI, along with first-choice tweaker Adam Zampa, who was rested, as the Australians suffered a 111-run loss on a wicket that turned more than expected.

Captain Mitch Marsh confirmed that Agar “wasn’t available for selection” and the left-armer would now head back to Australia for the birth of his first child with little competitive cricket under his belt ahead of the World Cup in India.

Agar played the opening game of the series, which was his first competitive hitout since playing India in March, and pending his fitness could have just two warm-up matches against the Netherlands and Pakistan to ready himself for the World Cup.

Sangha, who was called into the ODI squad in South Africa but remains outside the preliminary 15-man World Cup squad, nearly had man-of-the match Aiden Markram out on his third ball in a threatening spell and finished with figures of 1-64 from his eight overs, conceding just seven boundaries.

Marsh said the “big workload coming up” was the reason Zampa was left out, but with fitness queries remaining over World Cup spin options Glenn Maxwell and now Agar, Sangha is firming in selection calculations for the tournament.

Australia has to finalise its squad by the end of September.

While batting star Steve Smith returned to the nets in Australia this week in a signal he’ll be World Cup ready, Pat Cummins is also still sidelined along with Mitchell Starc.

In South Africa, Cameron Green is overcoming a concussion and boom quick Spencer Johnson a hamstring issue.

Marsh said Green, who is following concussion return-to-play protocols, could be back for the fifth ODI and Johnson could yet play again on tour.

“Hopefully, Greeny will be able to play the last game. I’m unsure how many days he’s got left with the concussion protocols, but we certainly won’t be taking any risks with that kind of stuff,” said Marsh.

“Spencer is hopefully tracking well to play in one of those two games. He’s early on in his international career and we’ve got to look after him. Hamstrings are something you can’t really rush back, but hopefully he’s fit for one of the two last games so we can get a look at him.”

Veteran fast bowler Josh Hazlewood said he expected Cummins and Starc to be ready to join him as Australia’s frontline attack in the World Cup, acknowledging the opportunity in South Africa for the likes of Nathan Ellis and Sean Abbott to also perform should they be needed in India.

“With Mitch and Pat coming in hopefully for the India series before the World Cup, there’s still a lot of games to go, no doubt the quicks will play a huge part not only here but at the World Cup as well,” he said.

“I think it‘s a great time to build some depth as well … it’s definitely great to have some younger guys here pushing us and getting some match experience and creating that depth within the squad.

“We‘ve got a few here that are doing really well in Nathan and Sean. It was a bit disappointing for Spence to do a little hamstring nick and not be available – it would’ve been really good to see him out there playing these games.”

Originally published as Ashton Agar’s World Cup readiness under a cloud

Source link

Source: News

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *