Australia, on Monday, announced their 15-man squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2019. The Australian selectors have left out Peter Handscomb and Josh Hazlewood for the mega-event in England and Wales. It is a harsh snub for Handscomb who has performed really well in recent times after earning a recall to the one-day side in January. Handscomb has averaged 43 in 13 games this year, including a superb maiden one-day hundred, and scored at a strike rate of 98 in that time.

On the other hand, Hazlewood, part of Australia’s World Cup winning team in 2015, is on the sidelines since January due to injury.  The right-arm pacer recently said that he would be fit for the World Cup but perhaps with the Ashes to immediately follow the World Cup and multiple fast-bowling options to choose from, the selectors did not risk the injury-prone pacer. Moreover with so many options to choose from, the selectors had the luxury to snub Hazlewood.

Credits: Getty

The selectors have rewarded Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh for their good recent form. The team also includes allrounders Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell. The biggest inclusion, nonetheless, is that of David Warner and Steve Smith. Both the players will be making their international comeback during the World Cup after serving the 12-month ban for the ball-tampering scandal.

Meanwhile, the likes of Ashton Turner, Matthew Wade , D’Arcy Short and Kane Richardson have also missed out. On the other hand, the likes of Handscomb and Hazlewood have been picked for the Australia A tour of the UK, which will run concurrently with the World Cup.

“Given the depth of talent and competition for spots there were a number of tough calls we had to make to settle on our squad of 15,” selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, from the recent squad which toured India and the UAE, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner and Kane Richardson have made way for the above inclusions, but all three have been included in the Australia A squad for the tour of England.

Steve Smith and David Warner (Credits: Getty)

“Josh Hazlewood has also been named in the Australia A squad. Having not played at the highest level for some time, we feel this will provide him with the best preparation to get some quality cricket under his belt. Our focus is to have Josh back bowling at his best for the commencement of a big Ashes Tour.

“(Smith and Warner are) both … world class players and it has been pleasing to see them produce some good form in the IPL,” Hohns added.

Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc are the pacers in the team. Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa are the two spinners.

The reigning world champions, meanwhile, have returned to form after a string of poor displays in ODIs. Before arriving in Asia, their last ODI series win had come in the 2016-17 season against Pakistan at home. However, Aaron Finch & Co. are once again looking like the team to beat after thrashing India and Pakistan in their own backyards. Against India, they were two nil down before winning the last three games to win the series. They then whitewashed Pakistan in the the five-match series in UAE.

The World Cup will start on May 30 while Australia will kickstart their World Cup defence against Afghanistan on June 1.

Australia’s 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