Australia’s big World Cup question answered

Travis Head’s batting blast that secured Australia a dominant series clean sweep of T20 wins against South Africa has further enhanced his push to open the batting at the ODI World Cup in India.

The swashbuckling South Australian looms as the man most likely to open with veteran David Warner, who will return for the impending five-game series against the Proteas that looms as crucial for the tourists to bed down their final 15-man squad for the tournament.

Head smashed a career-best 91 off just 48 balls, including eight fours and six sixes, in Australia’s five-wicket win after Sean Abbott took four wickets in his final effort before exiting the squad.

The Australians lost just five wickets in chasing down the home team’s 8-190, with keeper Josh Inglis also making 42 off 22 balls and helping to reel in the total with 13 balls to spare.

Captain Mitch Marsh was named man of the serious after smashing 190 runs from 100 balls across the three matches and only being dismissed once.

Michael Di Venuto, Australia’s coach for the series, said Marsh also loomed as a potential opening wildcard for the World Cup, but Head remained the frontrunner and would have chances to bed down a partnership with Warner in the upcoming matches.

“There’s lots of options for us moving forward opening the batting,” Di Venuto said.

“You look at the World Cup, David Warner comes back into the mix, Mitch Marsh, Travis Head, they’ve all got good form recently and they can all put a case forward.

“Trav can hit the ball over the ground. He played really well.”

Star spinner Adam Zampa missed the game with a neck injury, allowing Tanveer Sangha a second opportunity in the series and he will remain with the squad for the ODI games.

“(Zampa) was sick for the first game, came back for the second, hurt his neck through the warm-up,” De Venuto said.

“It affected him during that second game, there was no point risking a world-class performer. Zamps is a world-class spinner … he’ll be playing in some of the one-dayers.”

The Australians got the chance to expose the next generation of T20 stars who had been “dying to get their chance” and Di Venuto said all had shown they were not out of place at international level.

But special praise was left for Marsh, who will also take charge during the ODI series, with nominal captain Pat Cummins still overcoming a wrist injury, for taking a team loaded with debutants to such a dominant series win.

“We had four debutants through the series, we managed to get a couple of games into each of them, Matthew Short played three. They have been dying to get a chance,” Di Venuto said.

“Really impressed with those guys and they all showed they are food enough to be on the international stage.

“And Mitch is a natural leader and has been for us for a long time. He’s got a bit more responsibility out on the field and his batting, he’s been batting like that for the last few years.

“He’s full of confidence in his own game and has been for a period of time. And his leadership was impressive.”


Mitchell Marsh (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Marnus Labuschagne, Tanveer Sangha, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

Originally published as Travis Head likely to open for Australia at the World Cup

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