With experienced Steve Smith and David Warner’s return to international cricket have raised a selection dilemma ahead of the World Cup 2019.
The selection headache for Australia coach Justin Langer arises after his side registered a eight-game One-Day International (ODI) winning streak against India and Pakistan in absence of their star duo.
“We know categorically there are going to be one or two guys brutally unlucky not to get selected because they’re all going so well… the blokes in the squad at the moment will be praying it’s not them.” coach Langer admitted.
Usman Khawaja, averaging 65.50, has struck two centuries and five fifties in 10 innings. With the selectors expected to include Steven Smith and David Warner in the final 15, there’ll be three batsmen – Finch, Khawaja, and Warner – fighting for the two opening slots.
Warner have already made a blistering return to the Indian Premier League. He bludgeoned a century in 55 balls on Sunday after smashing 85 and 69 in his first two outings for SunRisers Hyderabad last week.
Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell have also been in fine touch with the bat, leaving difficult decisions as to where Warner and Smith will fit back in after serving their one-year bans for their part in a ball-tampering scandal.
Australia’s selectors also face a bowling conundrum as they target a record sixth World Cup triumph.
Pat Cummins is a certain starter but Mitchell Starc, the 2015 World Cup player of the tournament, and Josh Hazlewood have both been struggling with injury.
They missed the recent winning run and in their absence Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff and Kane Richardson all played well.
Australia are expected to take two spinners, with Adam Zampa starting to work well in tandem with Nathan Lyon. Marcus Stoinis had a quiet series with bat and ball against Pakistan but is expected to be named as the all-rounder.