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Matt Short, Fraser McGurk in contention for Australia's T20 WC travelling reserves: Report

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Australia is likely to name Jake Fraser-McGurk and Matthew Short as travelling reserves for the T20 World Cup 2024, scheduled to kick off on June 1 in the West Indies and USA, said a report.

If it happens, the decision will mark a shift from initial plans, as Chair of Selectors George Bailey had previously suggested only one reserve would be taken. The inclusion of Fraser-McGurk and Short aims to bolster the squad's depth and versatility in the event of any tournament-ending injuries among the primary 15 players.

According to ESPNcricinfo report, Australian Cricket has decided not to add a third frontline spinner as a travelling reserve as Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa are already part of the squad.

Leg spinner Tanveer Sangha, who is currently managing a hip flexor issue, was with the squad as a reserve at the ODI World Cup last year when Australia had just one specialist spinner but this time Ashton Agar is included in the 15-man squad.

Fraser-McGurk, who has been in exceptional form during the IPL, stirred debate with his omission from the main squad. His stellar performances had many advocating for his inclusion.

However, the selectors opted for stability within their established top three: David Warner, Travis Head, and captain Mitchell Marsh. Fraser-McGurk, yet to debut in T20 internationals, will provide crucial cover should any of these top-order players be sidelined during the tournament.

Matthew Short, another player with strong credentials, also narrowly missed out on the final 15. Having played in nine of Australia’s last 14 T20Is and excelling in multiple batting roles, Short brings invaluable flexibility to the squad. His ability to open the innings, as well as his experience in middle-order positions, makes him an ideal reserve. Additionally, his part-time offspin adds a useful dimension to his skill set.

Left-arm orthodox Matthew Kuhnemann trained with Australia's non-IPL players in Brisbane in the two camps held over the past fortnight but is yet to play a T20I for Australia despite playing Test and ODI cricket over the past two years.

The decision not to include an additional frontline spinner among the reserves reflects confidence in the selected squad’s bowling capabilities. Ashton Agar's inclusion in the main squad solidifies the spin department, especially with Tanveer Sangha managing a hip flexor issue. Matthew Kuhnemann, despite training with the squad, was also not included, emphasizing the selectors' trust in their chosen spinners.

Preparation for the tournament includes a training camp in Trinidad, starting Thursday, with two practice matches against Namibia and West Indies on May 28 and 30.

The logistical challenge posed by the IPL playoffs, concluding on May 26, means some key players, including Head, Green, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Glenn Maxwell, will have a delayed arrival. Despite these constraints, Australia is committed to the warm-up games, albeit with a potentially limited roster.

--IANS

hs/bc


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