Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh. (Photo: AP)
Five-time ODI World Cup champions Australia have been dealt a big blow with all-rounder Mitchell Marsh flying back home to Perth due to ‘personal reasons’ and no time-line has been given for his return for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. The blow comes after the injury to Glenn Maxwell, who has ben ruled out of Saturday’s clash between Australia and England due to a concussion suffered after the fall from a golf cart.
Cricket Australia are unclear on how long Marsh will be unavailable in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 and if a replacement player would be required by the team. “A timeline on his return to the squad is to be confirmed,” read a Cricket Australia release.
All-rounder Marcus Stoinis is likely to be fit to come into the side having recovered from a minor calf problem that has kept him out of the last two matches against the Netherlands and New Zealand but Cameron Green will also be set for a recall.
Batters Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne are set to return to their familiar positions of No. 3 and 4 in the batting order with Travis Head taking up the opener’s position. Australia will be down to only 13 fit players for the clash with England with Sean Abbott and Alex Carey the only other players available in the squad.
It is a huge blow to Australia’s balance with two of their most explosive and destructive players in Marsh and Maxwell missing for the match against England as they look to shore up a semi-final spot. Marsh has scored 225 runs at 37.50 during the World Cup 2023 campaign with a century against Pakistan in Hyderabad.
The next decision for Australia over the coming days will be whether Marsh needs to be replaced in their 15-man squad. If they did that, the 32-year-old West Australia all-rounder will not be able to return for the rest of the tournament unless there was another injury.
Leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha is Australia’s only current travelling reserve but he has only seemed likely to play if Adam Zampa were to succumb to one of his several fitness concerns. Recent ODI debutant Matt Short was also with the World Cup squad early in their campaign as a reserve. He would be a handy inclusion in Maxwell’s absence to play England, but might not then be required if the 34-year-old is back as expected for the final two group-stage games.
Aaron Hardie could come in for Marsh, while Mumbai Indians all-rounder Tim David could be in contention as well after his impressive performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the T20 format for Australia.