Cricket Australia today announced a fifteen-man squad that will be competing for the ICC Champions Trophy in England in June. The squad selected is:
Steve Smith (captain), David Warner (vice-captain), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.
The guys who made it
Victorian pacemen James Pattinson and John Hastings have been added back to the squad after both have recovered from injuries that limited their involvement in the 2016-17 home Australian Summer. Pattinson impressed during the Test series against South Africa, while Hastings has had recent ODI success in England following the failed 2015 Ashes campaign as well as success with bat and ball in New Zealand in early 2016. Hastings and Pattinson join pace regulars Mitchell Starc (who is currently recovering from a foot injury and is expected to be fit for the tournament opener on June 2), Pat Cumins and Josh Hazlewood.
The big news for Australia’s pace department, however, is that the Champions Trophy will be the first opportunity to test out the exciting four-man pace attack slated to take on England in the home Ashes series at the end of this year. Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Pattinson are a threatening group; all of whom can bowl at 140kph or faster and have consistently taken wickets in recent series.
Aaron Finch’s dwindling ODI form has not cost him his spot in the squad, although he will hand the captaincy back to regular skipper Steve Smith. Marcus Stoinis joins the squad after a breakthrough debut series against New Zealand that saw him score an unbeaten 146 in his first innings of ODI cricket. Fellow Big Bash excitement-machine Chris Lynn also gains a spot in the squad as he looks to bring his scintillating power-hitting to the international team.
Missed the cut
George Bailey, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, and Peter Handscomb have all been left out of the squad, while 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup player-of-the-final James Faulkner has been dropped. The justification for Faulkner’s omission is the strength of the fast bowling lineup and the “emergence” of Marcus Stoinis and Travis Head as all-rounders. This could be the first time that Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins, and Pattinson will feature in the same international match; indicating the healthy supply of fast bowling currently on offer to Australian selectors.
Australia kickstart their Champions Trophy campaign against New Zealand on June 2nd. They will also play Bangladesh and England during the group stage. Group B consists of India, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
How do you feel this squad will go at the Champions Trophy? Let us know in the comments below.