World Cup 2023: Travis Head set to return for ailing Australia

Travis Head, who suffered a fracture to his left hand last month, after copping a blow from Gerald Coetzee during the South Africa series, is set to join the World Cup squad according to reports. 

Recent developments suggest that Head's recovery is progressing at a pace that has exceeded expectations, raising hopes for his return to the World Cup squad.

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The fracture had initially cast a shadow over Head's participation in the World Cup. Named in Australia's 15-man Cup squad despite the injury, Head's recovery has been quick and timely for Australia. He wasn't replaced in the squad despite the injury underlining his importance to the squad.

After removing the protective splint from his hand last Friday, he has been actively practicing, facing an increasing number of throw-downs in the nets.

Travis Head
Photo by Icon sport

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Scheduled to depart from Adelaide and arrive in India by the end of this week, his participation in the upcoming matches hinges on his continued recovery. 

While he will miss Australia's next game against Pakistan at Bengaluru's M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, there's optimism about him being fit for the subsequent match against the Netherlands in Delhi.

Speaking about his recovery, Head mentioned to cricket.com.au, “It's coming along well, and probably better than we hoped.” 

The decision to forgo surgery, which would have entailed a 10-week recovery, seems to be paying off. The aggressive timeline set for his return, just under six weeks post-injury, is a testament to the medical team's expertise.

However, as Head gears up for his return, there are other factors at play. The Australian team's performance in the World Cup so far has been less than stellar, having lost their opening matches against India and South Africa. 

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The outcome of their game against Sri Lanka could influence the decision regarding Head's inclusion, especially with the play-off phase booking distant after the disastrous start.

The 29-year-old, who had carved a niche for himself as David Warner's opening partner, has been keenly following the team's progress from Adelaide. Mitchell Marsh has opened in his stead, but hasn’t made a mark yet.

Moreover, Head’s occasional off-spin has been particularly effective on subcontinent pitches, making his presence in the squad even more crucial.

All said and done, Head is yet to test his injured hand in the field, particularly with catching drills. “I'm not sure what it will mean for fielding, we haven't explored that yet,” he shared. 

Comparing his situation to Pat Cummins' wrist injury, he remains hopeful of clearing the remaining hurdles before the final decision about his participation is made.

Travis Head's potential return to the World Cup offers a beacon of hope for the Australian team. How he fits into the XI remains to be seen, but it is very likely that he’ll go straight back to the top alongside Warner.