T20 World Cup 2024: Australia announces its squad, Marsh to lead the charge as Smith to miss out

Cricket Australia, on Wednesday, announced a 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup in the United States and West Indies from June 1-29.

Melbourne, Australia: Cricket Australia (CA) has named its 15-man squad for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be held jointly in the West Indies and the United States, with all-rounder Mitchell Marsh taking the reins as captain. The announcement comes with some surprises, including the omission of former skipper Steve Smith and the inclusion of Ashton Agar and Cameron Green, who haven’t featured in T20 Internationals for an extended period.

Marsh Steps Up, Smith Omitted

Marsh, who has been leading the T20I side in an interim capacity since Aaron Finch’s retirement, has been officially confirmed as the full-time captain. This will be his first major tournament as skipper, and he’ll be looking to guide Australia to their first T20 World Cup title since 2021. Notably absent from the squad is Steve Smith, who has been a mainstay in Australian batting lineups across formats. This marks the first time since the 2014 edition that Smith will miss the T20 World Cup, and his exclusion has raised eyebrows within the cricketing fraternity.

Agar and Green Return, Ellis Joins Pace Battery

The selectors have opted for a blend of experience and potential, with the surprise inclusions of Ashton Agar and Cameron Green. Both players haven’t played a T20I for Australia in nearly 18 months. Agar, a left-arm spinner, will provide vital variety to the bowling attack, while Green’s all-round abilities offer valuable depth to the squad. In the pace department, death-bowling specialist Nathan Ellis has earned a call-up to join the well-established trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood. This potent bowling attack will be key to Australia’s success in the Caribbean and American conditions.

Wicketkeeping Options and Tournament Schedule

For wicketkeeping duties, the selectors have gone with a dual approach, picking both Matthew Wade and Josh Inglis. Wade brings experience and leadership qualities, while Inglis has been in impressive form in domestic cricket. The Australian squad is expected to arrive in the Caribbean by the end of May and will kick off their World Cup campaign against Oman on June 5th. They will then face England, Namibia, and Scotland in the group stage, aiming to secure a top-two finish for a place in the knockout rounds.

Looking Ahead: Can Marsh Lead Australia to Glory?

Mitchell Marsh’s leadership will be closely scrutinized as he takes on the captaincy role for the first time in a major tournament. While the exclusion of Steve Smith is a talking point, the return of Agar and Green adds depth and variety to the squad. With a potent pace attack and a well-rounded batting line-up, Australia has a strong chance of reclaiming the T20 World Cup title. The upcoming weeks in the Caribbean and the United States will be a true test of their character and cricketing prowess.