Cricket-Labuschagne and Head make Australia's World Cup squad but Agar omitted

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Fifth One Day International - South Africa v Australia - Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa - September 17, 2023 Australia's Marnus Labuschagne in action REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

(Reuters) - Marnus Labuschagne broke into Australia's 15-member squad for the 50-over World Cup in India at the last possible moment on Thursday on the back of his strong recent form while injured opener Travis Head was also included.

Labuschagne had been left out of the provisional squad but strong displays in South Africa and the one-day series in India forced his recall.

Head is set to miss Australia's early matches after breaking his hand in South Africa but was included in place of left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, who was in the preliminary squad of 15 players but failed to recover from a calf injury in time.

"This was a tough call but, unfortunately, we couldn't carry both Travis and Ashton into the tournament with the injuries they have," Chair of Selectors George Bailey said in a statement.

"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."

Glenn Maxwell is likely to be Australia's second spin option, alongside Adam Zampa, after the off-spinner's career-best 4-40 against India in the third one-day international on Wednesday.

Five-time champions Australia begin their campaign against hosts India in Chennai on Oct. 8.

Australia squad:

Pat Cummins (captain), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi, additional reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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