Australia announce 15-man squad for Champions Trophy

Selectors have unleashed a pack of fierce fast bowlers which include Starc, Hazlewood, Pattinson and Cummins.

Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc of Australia
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Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc of Australia. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

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World Champions Australia have announced a 15-man squad for the upcoming Champions Trophy scheduled to begin in June. The hallmark of Australian cricket has been pace, and the selectors have once again unleashed a pack of fierce fast bowlers. The robust four-man pace attack consists of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson and Pat Cummins.

Starc was ruled out of the last two Test matches of the India-Australia series following a foot injury he picked up in Bengaluru. Nevertheless, with ample time in hand for recovery, the left-arm pacer is expected to return for the Aussies ahead of the Champions Trophy. The devastating pace quartet might well go on to feature in an international match for the first time.

In the batting department, Australia have opted to leave out Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh and George Bailey from the side. Aaron Finch will make his way back to the squad and is likely to feature at the opening slot with David Warner. Despite an injury he picked up during the ongoing Indian Premier League, Chris Lynn has been picked for the Champions Trophy. Lynn is expected to recover well ahead of the mega-event, as Australia play their first game on June 2.

“Our medical staff will continue to monitor Mitchell and Chris’ recovery from their respective injuries, but we are hopeful they will be fit in time for the team’s departure on May 18,” said selector Trevor Hohns.

“When you also add Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to the fast bowling artillery it becomes a very exciting proposition for Australian cricket,” Hohn added.

South Australia’s Travis Head has also been given a go for the Champions Trophy. Along with captain Steve Smith, Australia’s batting line-up will also feature all-rounders Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques and Marcus Stoinis. Surprisingly, James Faulkner will miss out in this edition of the Champions Trophy for Australia.

“Moises finished off the domestic season very well and has had a great start in the Indian Premier League. We believe Moises’ batting has improved significantly in the past six months and he will provide us with a strong option should he be selected,” Trevor Hohns said.

“James (Faulkner) has been a consistent performer for the one-day squad for several years, however with players such as Pattinson, Cummins and Hastings coming back to full fitness and the emergence of Marcus Stoinis, James was squeezed out of the squad and is an unlucky omission,” he stated.

Victorian pacers John Hastings and James Pattinson have both been given a call-up. Pattinson will be donning Australia colours in the one-dayers after 2 years, while Hastings last featured in an ODI in October 2016. Adam Zampa is the lone front-line spinner for Australia, while Matthew Wade will take care of things behind the stumps.

“Both James and John have made very good returns from injury and are bowling well for their respective teams in the English County competition as well as both contributing well with the bat,” Hohns said.

The Champions Trophy will be hosted by the UK between June 1 and 18. Australia are grouped with hosts England as well as Bangladesh and New Zealand in Group A. Defending champions India find themselves in Group B with South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Hazlewood, Starc and Wade will depart for England on May 18, while the other set of players will join the training sessions for Australia once the IPL comes to a close on May 21.

Squad: Steve Smith (C), David Warner (VC), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa