Cricket-Australia backing Maxwell as frontline spinner at World Cup

  • Cricket
  • Friday, 29 Sep 2023

FILE PHOTO:Cricket - First One Day International - India v Australia - Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, India - March 17, 2023 Australia's Glenn Maxwell in action REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo

(Reuters) - Australia will head into the 50-over World Cup in India with only one specialist spinner in Adam Zampa, but chief selector George Bailey said on Friday that all-rounder Glenn Maxwell could also be considered a frontline option.

The five-times champions finalised their squad on Thursday and were forced to leave out left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, who was in their preliminary group of 15 players but failed to recover from a calf injury.

Bailey said Maxwell, who claimed a career-best 4-40 in Wednesday's win over India to help Australia avoid a series whitewash, was always in their plans as a spin option.

"It's unfair on Maxi to say he's not a specialist spinner. His Twenty20 and one-day international spinning record is pretty handy and you can very much consider him a frontline option," Bailey told reporters.

Australia brought in batsman Marnus Labuschagne instead of Agar and opted to carry injured opener Travis Head with the hope that he will be fit for the latter part of the tournament.

"More broadly across the squad, when you're limited to 15 players, there are compromises," Bailey added. "We also wanted to make sure we have the option of having Travis later in the tournament so effectively it's 14 for a period of time.

"It was about trying to balance up the immediate needs. We think Zampa and Maxwell can do a really good job and we've still got plenty of options there for quicks and backup all-rounders as well, depending on what structure we go with."

Bailey said he was impressed by Labuschagne's solid displays in recent matches against South Africa and India.

"I've loved the intent and the way he's gone about particularly starting his innings and his ability to maintain the momentum of the starts the top order have been getting," Bailey said.

"That's really important."

Australia begin their campaign against hosts India in Chennai on Oct. 8.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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