David Warner currently leads the run scoring charts in the IPL, holding the orange cap with 400 runs, while Smith has 186 runs to his name in 6 innings.
Dropping two in-form players underlines both the reversal of Australia’s recent one-day form and the depth of talent the panel had to choose from.
“Steve Smith and David Warner come back into the squad. Both are world class players and it has been pleasing to see them produce some good form in the IPL," Cricket Australia chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said on Monday.
“Mitchell Starc and Jhye Richardson have both been named subject to fitness. The advice from the CA medical team is they are progressing well and barring any setbacks will be available for selection ahead of our opening match against Afghanistan on June 1," he added.
Handscomb has done little wrong with the bat since winning a recall to the one-day side in January, but the returns of Smith and Warner meant the race for batting spots was always going to be tight.
Handscomb has averaged 43 in 13 games this year, including a superb maiden ODI ton in India, and scored at a strike rate of 98.
The Victorian's ability to keep wickets even had some pundits predicting he would take the gloves ahead of Alex Carey, but the South Australian has held his spot and is the sole gloveman in the squad.
“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. 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," Hohns informed.
Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh have been rewarded for their good recent form with selection, while skipper Aaron Finch will lead a batting line-up that also includes all-rounders Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell.
On the sidelines since January due to injury, Hazlewood had been confident of being fully fit in time for Australia’s Cup opener against Afghanistan on June 1 in Bristol. But with an Ashes series to immediately follow the World Cup, selectors have instead opted for Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff as their five fast-bowling options.
“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,” Hohns said about Hazlewood.
As expected, spinners Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon have both been picked.
Australia’s World Cup 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
2019 word cupAaron Finchadam zampaaustralia world cup squadcumminsDavid WarnerGlenn MaxwellICC World CupJhye Richardsonmarcus stoinisMitchell StarcNathan Coulter-NileNathan LyonPat Cumminsshaun marshsteve smithUsman Khawajaworld cup 2019
First Published: April 15, 2019, 8:00 AM IST