Head’s slim World Cup hopes to be determined back in Australia

Further assessments back in Australia will determine Travis Head‘s World Cup fate after the fracture hand he suffered in South Africa, but he remains a long shot to now make the tournament in India.
Matthew Short has been called up to the ODI squad for the three matches in India which precede the World Cup as batting cover although Marnus Labuschagne is the frontrunner to replace Head after his impressive return to the side in South Africa.

A CA release said Head “will undertake further medical review on return to Australia before a return to play schedule is determined.” TV pictures during the final ODI in Johannesburg showed Head’s hand heavily bandaged and strapped following the blow he took from Gerald Coetzee at Centurion.

Meanwhile, Steven Smith (wrist), Glenn Maxwell (ankle and paternity leave) and Mitchell Starc (groin) are back in Australia’s squad for their trip to India after all three missed the tour of South Africa with injuries. Captain Pat Cummins, who rejoined the squad earlier this week, will also be available for those matches.
Short, who is yet to make his ODI debut, earned his T20I cap in South Africa and scored a match-winning 30-ball 66 in the second game of that series. Since then he has played two unofficial ODIs for Australia A against New Zealand A in Brisbane, and scored a half-century in his most recent innings.

With Smith, Maxwell and Starc back in the squad, there is no room for Aaron Hardie, Tim David and Michael Neser, the first two of whom made their ODI debuts during the South Africa tour. Ashton Agar, who is on paternity leave, will also miss the India series.

Left-arm quick Spencer Johnson, who was added to the ODI squad in South Africa as a replacement for Starc, will remain with the squad. So will Marnus Labuschagne, who wasn’t part of their South Africa contingent, but found a way into the squad thanks to Smith’s wrist injury, and then into the XI as a concussion sub for Cameron Green, before forcing himself back into the reckoning for the World Cup with scores of 80* and 124 in the first two ODIs.

Australia squad vs India Pat Cummins (capt), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Matthew Short, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

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