Star cricketers David Warner and Steve Smith are likely to miss the upcoming knockout phase of the Indian Premier League campaign after both players were named to Australia’s preliminary World Cup squad. Australia announced the full roster on Monday, with both players set to make their return to the international stage following suspensions in connection with a well-publicized ball-tampering scandal.
Australia are one of the better cricketing nations in the world, and they will enter the tournament as defending champions after winning the ICC World Cup as hosts in 2015. However, the betting odds don’t favor the reigning champions. Australia are currently listed at 9/2 to win the World Cup, which puts them behind England (5/2) and India (3/1).
If you know how to bet on cricket, you’ll know 9/2 doesn’t give the Aussies the most favorable odds, but the inclusion of both Smith and Warner should certainly enhance the side’s chances at glory this summer.
Both players were suspended for a full year by Cricket Australia, with their bans both having come to an end in March. Both Smith and Warner began playing for their respective Indian Premier League clubs last month in the premier T20 tournament. Smith plays for the Rajasthan Royals, while Warner is a member of Sunrisers Hyderabad.
However, both players will take a temporary leave from their respective clubs in order to compete for their country once again. Australian players are expected to congregate in Brisbane for a training camp ahead of the World Cup this summer.
A statement from Cricket Australia read, “The fifteen-player squad for the ICC world cup will assemble in Brisbane for a training camp at the National Cricket Centre on May 2. The training camp will include three practice matches between Australia XI and New Zealand XI at Allan Border Field.”
Smith has struggled early in the season. He has racked up just 186 runs through his first seven matches as a member of the Royals. Warner, meanwhile, has been in excellent form. The opener has formed a dynamic tandem with Jonny Bairstow of England at the top of the batting order for the Sunrisers. Warner is currently the IPL’s leading run-getter with 400 runs through his first seven appearances. He has also accounted for four fifties.
Both Smith and Warner are likely to be absent for the knockout stages if their teams wind up qualifying for the playoffs. A couple of other notable Australians (Marcus Stoinis and Jason Behrendorff) will also miss the run-up to the playoffs after being named to the Australian national side. Stoinis plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore, while Behrendorff plays for Mumbai Indians.
Spinners Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa were named to the squad, as was wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
One notable omission from the squad is strike bowler Josh Hazlewood. Those that selected the roster believe Hazlewood needs more time to work his way back into shape following an injury. Hazlewood has taken 72 wickets in 44 ODIs to this point, but he has been sidelined due to a back injury since January. Hazlewood was optimistic regarding his chances at being back to full strength in time for the World Cup, but he failed to make the squad.
Trevor Hohns, chairman of selectors for Cricket Australia, said, “Having not played at the highest level for quite some time, we feel this will provide him with the best preparation to get some quality cricket under his belt. Our focus is to have Josh back bowling at his best for the commencement of a big Ashes Tour.”
Regarding Smith and Warner’s inclusion in the squad, Hohns added, “Both are world-class players and it has been pleasing to see them produce some good form in the IPL.”
Smith’s Royals team is 2-5 through 7 matches, while Sunrisers are 3-4 through the first seven matches of the IPL campaign.
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