In a major blow ahead of the ICC World Cup 2023, opening batter Travis Head is missing from the Australia squad for the upcoming tour of India, which comprises three pivotal One Day Internationals (ODIs) scheduled in Mohali, Indore, and Rajkot.
Head's unfortunate injury, a fractured left hand sustained during the fourth ODI in Pretoria, has cast a shadow of uncertainty over his availability for the upcoming World Cup, set to commence in just over two weeks.
The absence of Head has set off alarm bells within the Australian camp, as he has been an in-form batter in their batting lineup. The road to recovery for Head remains unclear, and with surgery under consideration, his prospects of participating in the World Cup hang in the balance.
Travis Head one of many concerns in Australia squad
This injury is just one of several health concerns plaguing the Australian squad as they gear up for the marquee 50-over event. Notably, Glenn Maxwell, who was down with a leg injury, has made it into the squad despite fitness uncertainties. Captain Pat Cummins, along with Mitchell Starc and Steve Smith, are all on the path to recovery from their respective injuries during the Ashes.
With Head's absence, the Australian team might need to rejig their batting order, and the spotlight now shines on Marnus Labuschagne, who has displayed commendable form in the South Africa series. Labuschagne could potentially fill the void left by Head, and his inclusion would make for stiff competition with players like Cameron Green and Josh Inglis for a spot in the final 15-man roster.
The final ICC deadline for the World Cup squad announcement is September 28.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) September 15, 2023
Australia's ODI squad for the India tour comprises an expanded 18-member ensemble, featuring uncapped talents Matt Short and Spencer Johnson. Both have made an impact in T20 cricket, both franchise and international, but will only remain outside bets to make the final World Cup cut.
Australia's tour of India is scheduled to kick off on September 22 with the first ODI in Mohali. Subsequent clashes will take place in Indore on September 24 and Rajkot on September 27.
These ODIs hold significant weight in determining Australia's standing as they head into the World Cup, with the coveted No.1 ranking also up for grabs. If they win the series 3-0, Australia will hed into the World Cup as the No.1 ranked side in the ICC Rankings.
Australia squad for India ODIs
Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
Australia vs India fixtures
September 22: First ODI, Mohali
September 24: Second ODI, Indore
September 27: Third ODI, Rajkot