- Smith, Warner will have to find form and fitness in IPL
- Starc ruled out after injury setback
- Australia squad unchanged
MELBOURNE: Steve Smith and David Warner will have to find form in the Indian Premier League to win places in Australia’s squad for the World Cup after being left out of the final warmup series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
Selectors named an unchanged 15-man squad for the five ODI matches in the Gulf and said it had been agreed the Twenty20 competition in India was the “best pathway” for the pair as they each recover from elbow injuries and serve out the final weeks of their ball-tampering bans.
“Cricket Australia will continue to liaise with both Steve, David and their IPL clubs to monitor progress as we build towards the ICC World Cup and the Ashes,” selector Trevor Hohns said in a media release.
The pair’s ball-tampering bans expire on March 28, which would have made them eligible to play in the final two matches of the UAE series in Dubai on March 29 and March 31.
Smith will play for Rajastan Royals, with Warner to feature for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, which starts March 23. The 15-man squad for the World Cup will be named on April 23.
In a blow for Australia’s hopes of building momentum for the World Cup in England starting late May, pace spearhead Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the squad after a setback during his recovery from a left pectoral strain.
“This has ruled him out of the Pakistan series and while frustrating for all involved, our focus is to have Mitch ready for the World Cup,” Hohns said.
Starc had already been ruled out of the ongoing ODI series in India, which Aaron Finch-captained Australia currently trail 2-0 ahead of the third match in Ranchi later on Friday.
Fast bowler Kane Richardson has been included in the squad despite returning home from India with a side strain.
The five-match series against Pakistan starts March 22 in Sharjah.
Aaron Finch (captain), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa