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Smith, Warner to create selection squeeze

Usman Khawaja is one of many batsmen at risk of missing out on World Cup selection as Australia prepare for the return of Steve Smith and David Warner.

Smith, Warner to create selection squeeze

Usman Khawaja is one of many batsmen at risk of missing out on World Cup selection as Australia prepare for the return of Steve Smith and David Warner.

STEVE SMITH of Australia plays a shot during game three of the One Day International series between Australia and England at SCG in Sydney, Australia.
STEVE SMITH of Australia plays a shot during game three of the One Day International series between Australia and England at SCG in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

The clock is ticking as Australia's incumbent batsmen seek to prove they should not be axed when Steve Smith and David Warner return for the World Cup

Smith and Warner, now in the final month of their year-long bans, will be named in Australia's 15-man World Cup squad if fit.


It will come at the expense of two members of the current ODI squad in the midst of a five-match series against India.

Coach Justin Langer has made it clear he will be patient during captain Aaron Finch's form slump, while Shaun Marsh is seemingly a lock given his strong recent 50-over form.

Finch, desperate to work his way out of a rut that has spanned 20 international white-ball innings without a half-century, had an extended one-on-one session with Langer prior to Monday's training session in Nagpur.

If Finch and Marsh are included in the World Cup squad it will leave Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Turner pitted against each other at the selection table.

Khawaja, who opened and top-scored with 50 in Australia's series-opening loss in Hyderabad, insists that scenario hasn't created any sort of complicated dynamic between teammates.

"Not at all. They (Smith and Warner) are world-class players and they've been amazing for the one-day team for Australia for a long time," Khawaja said.

"I'm sure when they do come back they'll be welcomed with open arms.

"I'm not looking at my World Cup chances ... I worked really hard to get back into the one-day team and I'm just enjoying the ride.

"I felt I went alright (in the first ODI). It would have been nice to score more but hopefully there will be more opportunities."

Adam Zampa backed Finch to find form, noting his "experience is going to be pivotal for us. we know he is going to turn it around".

Marsh, a late arrival in India following the birth of his second child, is pushing to return from a hamstring injury in the second ODI that starts in Nagpur on Tuesday at 7pm AEDT.

"SOS is a great player," Khawaja said.

"He's been in terrific form, so I'd love to see him back out there. He's just had a little baby girl too, so I'm sure he's flying high.

"If he is back that only strengthens our batting order."

Smith and Warner were both part of Australia's victorious 2015 World Cup squad while they've scored a combined 7,774 runs from a total of 214 ODIs.

The duo's bans expire on March 29, leaving them free to play two one-dayers against Pakistan later this month.

The former captain and vice-captain are instead set to return from elbow surgery in the Indian Premier League, meaning their reintegration will come in Brisbane during a World Cup training camp in May.

AAP


AAP




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