Smith and Warner picked as Aussies firm in betting for ICC World Cup
Australia has recalled former captain Steve Smith and David Warner for the ICC World Cup after the expiration of their bans for ball tampering.
Some online betting sites shortened the Aussies’ odds immediately after it was announced the disgraced pair would be making their returns after a year out of the national team.
But most oddsmakers have kept the Aussies steady at $5, behind host and tournament favourite England ($3.25) and the powerful India ($3.75).
Also read: ICC 50 Over World Cup
With Australia having won eight one-day matches in a row, there had been some debate as to whether the pair should be recalled, but Warner’s hot form in the Indian Premier League and Smith’s standing as one of the great modern-day batsman has seen them rushed in for the title defence in England.
The heartbreak stories for Australia are Peter Handscomb and Josh Hazlewood.
Victorian Handscomb has been in top form since returning to the Australian set-up in January, averaging 43 in 13 games at a strike rate of 98. However, selectors have opted for veteran Shaun Marsh and in-form opener Usman Khawaja ahead of him.
Hazlewood is one of Australia’s most consistent pace bowlers but his lack of match practice and conditioning meant the selectors overlooked him in favour of a pace battery of Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Jhye Richardson, Mitch Starc and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis.
One of the big questions still to be answered is who will open the batting for Australia with Khawaja and skipper Aaron Finch facing stern competition from Warner for an opening spot. One potential solution is shuffling one of the pair to no.3 and elevating Warner to the top of the order.
The Aussies have also gone with two spinners for the tournament with Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon both being given the nod.
Australia opens the 2019 ICC World Cup with a clash against Afghanistan on June 1, before matches against West India, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand and South Africa.
The team is also due to hold a training camp in Brisbane in early May, where they are also expected to play three practice matches against New Zealand as a tune-up for the title defence.
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
Australia’s World Cup Fixture
May 25: (warm-up) England v Australia, Southampton
May 27: (warm-up) Australia v Sri Lanka, Southampton
June 1: Afghanistan v Australia, Bristol (D/N)
June 6: Australia v West Indies, Trent Bridge
June 9: India v Australia, The Oval
June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia, Lord’s
June 29: New Zealand v Australia, Lord’s (D/N)
July 6: Australia v South Africa, Old Trafford (D/N)
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord’s
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