Marnus Labuschagne forces way into Australia World Cup squad

Batter was left out of provisional party for tournament but fine recent form has earned him spot for tournament in India

Australia's Marnus Labuschagne has averaged just over 60 in recent ODIs. Reuters
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Marnus Labuschagne’s recent run of good form has persuaded Australia to include him in their final World Cup squad as Ashton Agar makes way because of injury.

Labuschagne was an eye-catching omission from the provisional party for the tournament which gets under way in India next week, owing to a modest average of 31.37 and just one century in 30 ODI appearances.

But after being given a chance, initially as a concussion substitute for Cameron Green, Labuschagne has impressed in South Africa and India, averaging 60.14 with a strike-rate of 97.67 in eight ODIs – contributing one hundred and two fifties.

The middle-order batter and very occasional spinner therefore comes into Australia’s 15-strong squad in place of slow left-armer Agar, who has been unable to shrug off a calf complaint suffered last month.

Australia announced they will persevere with Travis Head despite the top-order batter’s broken hand which is set to keep him out of at least the first half of the tournament.

“There has been one change to the original preliminary squad of 15 announced a month ago with Marnus replacing Ashton,” said Cricket Australia chair of selectors George Bailey.

“This was a tough call but unfortunately, we couldn’t carry both Travis and Ashton into the tournament with the injuries they have.

“We have made the decision to carry Travis through the early stages with the aim of him being available around the mid-part of the tournament.

“He has been a really important player in this ODI team and we are hopeful his return can provide a positive impetus as it gets to the business end of the tournament.”

Top-order batter Matt Short and leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha will stay with the squad at least until the conclusion of Australia’s warm-up matches next week.

Australia's first match at the World Cup sees them take on hosts India in Chennai on October 8.

Updated: October 04, 2023, 9:04 AM