Almost a year ago when the pillars of the Australian team, skipper Steve Smith and Deputy David Warner got banned, it was crystal clear that this team is going to struggle big time. They lost the series against South Africa by 3-1 when they visited the protean in March last year.
They tried numerous options at the top of the order. Starting with the BBL sensation D’arcy Short, they tried wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey, Marcus Stoinis etc. Many players showed promise in BBL 08 but only Ashton Turner could get a chance to represent the national side. It seems like they have finally solved the problem in the form of the southpaw Usman Khawaja.
Khawaja, who is a permanent test squad member, always had the caliber to feature in yellow colors. Khawaja scored two centuries in the recent ODI series against India. He certainly has booked his flight to the grand event which is going to happen in England after a few months.
Although Khawaja has solved the equation for today he has given a headache to the selectors. As David Warner and Steve Smith are sure shot entrants into the playing XI, let’s see who will make the cut off for the perfect XI at the world cup.
Why it is Impossible to replace Steve Smith and David Warner?
Steve Smith is the run-machine of Australian team whereas David Warner is their most impactful player in the squad. Smith and Warner are the two pillars on whom Aussies ride high. David Warner devastate any opposition bowling in first few overs itself like nobody else does.
It hardly matters if a player of Finch’s caliber is in form or not. Finch is an attacking opener along with David Warner who can turnaround a match on his own. Also, the right-left combination is always preferred by the management in any condition. Despite having 2 ducks in last 5 innings but the amount of experience he adds into the squad is irreplaceable. He will definitely be the first choice of opener ahead of D’arcy Short and Usman Khawaja.
Steve Smith will solidify the most important no.3 spot in the batting order. The real competition is for no.4 and no. 5 spot. Shaun Marsh is a name which was quite obvious for these positions. The recent form of Marsh isn’t much appreciable though. If Khawaja doesn’t open, he will surely fight for the no.4 spot.
Peter Handscomb had a good series against India and same goes with Glenn Maxwell. Also, Maxwell provides a spin bowling action which can be a positive for him. Accounting the recent form factor, it will be a toss-up between Handscomb and Shaun Marsh for a spot in the middle order.
Glenn Maxwell can be utilized as a floater any time. He along with Marcus Stoinis provides depth in the batting department. Ashton Turner turned the 4th ODI vs India but he too will have to wait for more for a spot in playing XI.
As far as we can predict, the selection process may be harsh on Handscomb and any one of Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja. Let us know if you think Maxwell too can e ruled out.