SYDNEY: Steve Smith and David Warner completed their remarkable comeback from the ball-tampering scandal that rocked cricket when they were on Monday selected in defending champion Australia’s World Cup squad.
But there was no room for Josh Hazlewood or Peter Handscomb at the tournament in England and Wales.
It is the first call-up for the former captain and his deputy since the expiry last month of year-long bans for their part in “sandpapergate” in Cape Town that had wide repercussions for Australian cricket.
Then-coach Darren Lehmann quit and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review said their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture was partly to blame for players bending the rules.
Both players were eligible for the final two games of Australia’s recent limited-overs tour against Pakistan, but selectors preferred that they eased themselves back at the Twenty20 Indian Premier League.
Both grabbed the opportunity and have been in good touch, particularly the bombastic Warner who has made a blistering return.
“As far as I’m concerned they have done everything that’s been asked of them in the last 12 months,” said one-day skipper Aaron Finch, adding that he didn’t believe their return would be destabilising.
“Knowing them both personally as I do, I don’t think there will be any issues whatsoever. They are both great, great guys.”
Their return has left coach Justin Langer with a dilemma on the back of Australia winning eight one-day internationals on the trot, against India and Pakistan.
All the top order have been firing, and it is Handscomb who is the fall guy despite averaging 43 in 13 games this year. The decision to drop him means the team only has one wicketkeeper in Alex Carey.
Khan and Nabi spearhead Naib-led Afghanistan World Cup squad
KABUL: Spin sensation Rashid Khan and all-rounder Mohammad Nabi will spearhead Afghanistan’s assault on the World Cup after a 15-man squad was announced on Monday.
Seaming all-rounder Gulbadin Naib will captain the side when they head to England and Wales for the global showpiece which begins on May 30, the Afghanistan Cricket Board said.
Joining the spin attack of Khan and Nabi — who led Afghanistan in their first World Cup four years ago — will be 18-year-old mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Fast bowler Hamid Hasan returns for the first time since 2017 because of fitness issues alongside other frontline quicks Dawlat Zadran and Aftab Alam.
Naib had earlier this month been announced as captain, replacing Asghar Afghan who has still been included in the squad.
Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai, head of the Cricket Board’s selection committee, said they had tried to select “a successful, experienced and balanced team”.
While most of the Afghan team are at a training camp in South Africa, the spinners are all warming up for the 50-over World Cup in the Indian Premier League.
Many Afghanistan cricketers learned the game in refugee camps in Pakistan, their families having fled the Soviet invasion in the 1980s.
Since beating the odds to compete at the 2010 World Twenty20 in England, Afghanistan have qualified for all major international tournaments and recorded their first Test victory against Ireland last month.
Afghanistan open their World Cup campaign against Australia in Bristol on June 1 and are regarded as dark horses, having beaten former champions Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup last year as well as forcing a tie with giants India.
Afghanistan squad: Gulbadin Naib (capt), Shahzad Mohammadi, Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hasan, Mujib Ur Rahman
Cricket: South Africa World Cup squad
JOHANNESBURG: South Africa on Thursday named the following squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England and Wales:
Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wkt), JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Rassie van der Dussen.
Sri Lanka dump Chandimal, bring back Thirimanne for World Cup
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka Thursday dumped established stars including former captain Dinesh Chandimal to hand batsman Lahiru Thirimanne and leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay a place in their World Cup squad.
Chandimal, who was one-day captain until last October, wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella, off-spinner Akila Dananjaya, openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Upul Tharanga were all left out of the 15-man squad.
Thirimanne and Vandersay along with all-rounders Milinda Siriwardana and Jeevan Mendis got places despite not playing in the one-day team for more than a year.
Left-handed batsman Dimuth Karunaratne, who was appointed captain on Wednesday, last played an ODI in March 2015.
Opening batsman Avishka Fernando and paceman Nuwan Pradeep were also named for the 50-over event which starts in England and Wales on May 30.
The 1996 champions kick off their campaign against New Zealand in Cardiff on June 1.
Sri Lanka squad:
Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardana, Avishka Fernando, Jeevan Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal