Bold World Cup call on injured stars

Despite a stunning T20 debut series, leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha has been overlooked from Australia’s provisional World Cup squad, but remains with the team in South Africa and could yet be included should injuries force changes.

The selectors have backed Ashton Agar (calf) to perform off limited preparation alongside returning senior members Glenn Maxwell (ankle) and Steve Smith (wrist), with Australia’s first game against India in Chennai on October 8.

Captain Pat Cummins (wrist) and Mitchell Starc (groin) have also been named despite neither participating in the upcoming ODI series against South Africa, with hopes they can play in either the three ODIs against India later this month or the two tournament warm-up games against the Netherlands and Pakistan.

Sangha, 21, was unable to break into the squad after he bolted into the preliminary squad along with uncapped all-rounder Aaron Hardie, who was also left out.

The NSW leg-spinner’s impressive form in the South Africa T20 games led to him being preferred over Adam Zampa for the final match, claiming five wickets at 14 in a superb debut series.

But the selectors opted for the experience and left-arm variation of Agar, who told NCA NewsWire last week he was moving freely following a calf strain which kept him out of the T20 leg of the tour.

Agar said he was confident he would be able to perform at his best during the World Cup despite a lack of matches in the lead up.

“I’ve done a couple of 100 per cent intensity sessions, which is the biggest barrier when you do a calf … it’s held up well so far,” he said.

Sean Abbott has earned the chance to play at his first World Cup, edging out Nathan Ellis for the fourth specialist fast bowler role, with the Australia committing to an all-rounder heavy squad featuring Mitch Marsh, Cameron Green and Marcus Stoinis.

World-class Test batter Marnus Labuschagne has again been overlooked despite being called into the Australian squad for the South Africa series, with Josh Inglis the sole reserve top order player and back-up keeper in the squad.

Chair of selectors George Bailey said Australia’s injured players were “well placed” to make their returns and could face India later this month, with the final squad to be confirmed after that series.

“Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell are on track in their return to play programs,” Bailey said.

“All are well placed to come back online in the coming weeks and potentially for selection in the upcoming series against India.

“There are eight one-day matches still to play in South Africa and India before the final squad is due to be declared. They are followed by two World Cup practice games, which offers plenty of opportunity to continue the build for the tournament.”

Originally published as ODI World Cup: Australia backs Ashton Agar over Tanveer Sangha

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