Australia seek third spinner in the mix for T20 World Cup; Ashton Agar, Mitchell Swepson key contenders amongst others

Cricket Australia is open to include another spin-bowling alternative in the 15-man squad for forthcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024.

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George Bailey
George Bailey. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

Cricket Australia announced a total of 23 men's players to be offered national contracts for the 2024-25 season on March 28, 2024. Top-order batter Matt Short, all-rounder Aaron Hardie, and fast bowlers Xavier Bartlett and Nathan Ellis were the new inclusions to the list, with the likes of Marcus Stoinis, Marcus Harris, and Ashton Agar missing out.

Later during the T20 World Cup, the conditions in the USA and the Caribbean are expected to offer great help to the spinners. As a result, the former champions have felt the need to incorporate an extra spinner in the mix alongside the go-to man, Adam Zampa. Chief selector George Bailey acknowledged the perception of Glenn Maxwell being a part-timer, however, he will have a bigger role to play during the upcoming assignment.

With the last date for announcement of the 15-member squad being mandated as May 31 by the ICC, Bailey announced that the selection committee will meet at the end of April. Stoinis and Agar will be firmly in contention to be on the shortlist for the final squad for the mega-event in June, according to the selection chief.

“The balance of the squad will probably lend itself to having that second spinner there,” Bailey told reporters. It still seems hard for everyone to get their head around the fact Glenn Maxwell's a pretty handy white-ball spinner, and we don't necessarily consider him a part-time option, he's one that we consider a frontline option.

“So Zamps (Zampa) will clearly be there, and I think there will be an opportunity potentially for one more. We will come together at the end of April to put a squad together for that, and both Stoin (Stoinis) and Ash Agar (Ashton Agar) will be firmly in the mix for the squad,” Bailey told reporters as quoted by ICC.

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Stiff competition for Agar ahead of squad announcement for T20 WC 2024

Left-arm orthodox Ashton Agar lies fifth in the list of leading wicket-takers for Australia in T20Is, with 48 wickets to his name at an average of 22.35, with his economy (6.47) being the best among the group. However, the left-arm spinner has his work cut out due to numerous options up for being called.

Leg-spinner, Tanveer Sangha, has played in seven T20Is for Australia since the previous T20 World Cup held at home. He also managed to pick up 10 wickets during the same, equalling Zampa's count, who played one additional game. Chris Green, on the other hand, also could be in contention, since he provides a lot with the bat as well.

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If selectors intend to broaden their search beyond the current group, a couple of names emerged during the recent Big Bash League season — with Cameron Boyce and Llyod Pope taking 14 and 13 wickets, respectively. Swepson and Matthew Kuhnemann are among those in the same category, with them being potential alternatives for the Aussies.

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