Smith, Warner return for Australia's World Cup defence

Smith, Warner return for Australia's World Cup defence

Richardson is working his way back from a dislocated shoulder suffered in a recent ODI against Pakistan, while Starc has been on the mend from a pectoral issue; both are expected to be fit for the tournament opener on June 1 against Afghanistan.

While banned from global cricket, the pair was still able to play in professional leagues overseas, and Warner has been in outstanding form in the Indian Premier League. The Victorian pacer, who has battled back from serious back surgery at the end of 2017, is in the reckoning for a spot in Australia's Ashes squad that follows immediately after the World Cup.

The biggest talking point in Australian cricket was that surrounding former captain Steve Smith and his former deputy David Warner.

The two were recalled to the national team after Australia named their 15-member squad for World Cup beginning 30 May in England and Wales.

Among others, pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile, who also plays for RCB, has already been ruled out of the IPL following an injury and South Africa's Dale Steyn has been drafted into the squad.

Mitch Marsh, who was Australia's test vice-captain as recently as October, has been omitted and has lost his CA contract but his brother Shaun Marsh has been retained. Australia whitewashed Pakistan by 5-0 in an ODI series in UAE held in March this year. Khawaja and Finch have averaged 89 in their recent opening stands.

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He added that there had been some tough calls to make given the depth of talent available, but was happy to see Smith and Warner return to the global fold.

"Steve Smith and David Warner come back into the squad, " he said. "Both are world-class players and it has been pleasing to see them produce some good form in the IPL".

'Mitchell Starc and Jhye Richardson have both been named subject to fitness, ' Hohns said. "Our key criteria is to focus on selecting a pool of players who are going to help us in our ambition to win the upcoming World Cup and Ashes series in England, and who can also play the various formats over the course of the Australian summer".

"Having not played at the highest level for some time, we feel this will provide him with the best preparation to get some quality cricket under his belt, " Hohns said. From those on last year's roster, Ashton Agar, Kane Richardson, Billy Stanlake and Andrew Tye have missed out while the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Marcus Harris and Adam Zampa have been elevated back to the contracted group.

Aaron Finch (capt), Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa.

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