Australia counting on Travis Head comeback at World Cup

Opening batsman could make early return after recovering from broken hand as Aussies take on Netherlands

Australia's Travis Head during a training session at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi. Getty
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Australia batsman Travis Head is close to making a return to the national team less than six weeks after fracturing his left hand.

Head picked up the injury during Australia's South Africa tour last month, which forced him to miss the first four matches of the World Cup in India.

Coach Andrew McDonald has said there is a good chance of Head playing soon, possibly against the Netherlands in Delhi on Wednesday.

Head's injury has impacted Australia's balance, as he is a proven top order batsman and reliable spinner.

Given the significance of Head's return, Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who made 121 and 52 in his last two outings in the tournament, said he is ready to move down to No 3 if Head is back.

“He looked good, a bit of range-hitting last night,” Marsh said. “He says the hand feels good. So, I'm sure if he's fit, he'll be available for selection in the team.”

Head's return as David Warner's opening partner would push Marsh one place down the order and the all-rounder insists it is a role he is comfortable with.

“Very happy to go back down to three. I've obviously batted there a lot over the last couple of years, so I feel really comfortable at three,” Marsh said.

“And if and when Heady comes back in, that's the best position for me to play for this team.”

Marsh said they cannot afford any complacency against a Dutch that defeated South Africa and fought hard against Sri Lanka before losing by five wickets.

“We've said it multiple times now in this tournament this year, there's absolutely no easy games.

“Tomorrow is no different for us. We respect the Netherlands, they're playing some good cricket and that will be a tough challenge.”

The Netherlands, meanwhile, will be hoping for some contributions from their top order. In the games against South Africa and Sri Lanka, their lower order bailed them out by helping put competitive scores of 245-8 and 262, having lost their first five wickets before 100 runs on both occasions.

The pitch in Delhi is the best in the tournament and should allow for fearless batting first up.

Updated: October 24, 2023, 11:30 AM