Australia’s most promising young batsman, Marnus Labuschagne, wasn’t named in the 23-man preliminary squad announced on Monday (May 17) for the forthcoming limited-overs trip to the Caribbean.
Following discussions involving Labuschagne and the selectors, it was decided that it would be best for the player to remain in the UK and go through his County Championship stint with Glamorgan as he otherwise faces quarantine hurdles amid the pandemic times.
Marnus Labuschagne hasn’t played a T20I for Australia yet but has quickly become integral to the ODI middle-order since making his debut in the format early last year. Labuschagne, firmly part of Australia’s plans for the 2023 World Cup in India, has featured in 13 ODIs with 439 runs at an average just shy of 40 and strike-rate above 90.
“Anyone who knows Marnus understands he would give absolutely anything to play for Australia and he is deeply upset to miss out due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control,” selection chairman Trevor Hohns said in a media statement.
“We worked through numerous options in conversations with Marnus to find a workable solution but ultimately came to the conclusion it was more practical for him to remain in the UK.”
“Had we not been in the middle of a global pandemic, Marnus would be on this tour as a well-established member and important part of the one-day side.”
“It’s an unfortunate circumstance of the many challenges the world is facing right now. As it stands, Marnus has the opportunity to continue in county cricket and T20 games with Glamorgan as we head into the World Cup and home summer,” he added.
Labuschagne missing, Tanveer Sangha a surprise pick in Australia’s preliminary squad for WI tour
The rest of Australia’s preliminary squad sees comebacks of Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, who missed the white-ball tour of New Zealand earlier in the year.
The squad also includes the likes of Matthew Wade, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Swepson, the quartet that missed out on annual contracts from CA.
The selectors have kept most of the prominent names and those on the fringes in the mix for the West Indies tour that features in three ODIs and five T20Is.
The National Selection Panel has chosen the following 23-player preliminary list for the Qantas Australian men's tour of the West Indies.
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) May 17, 2021
“This preliminary list gives selectors a solid base from which to choose a final touring party in the coming weeks while allowing players to prepare,” said Hohns.
“The Australian men’s T20 squad has the ability to match it with any team in the world and the competition for places will be fierce, which is exactly what we are looking for.”
The only real surprise inclusion is that of Tanveer Sangha, 19-year-old uncapped wrist-spinner from New South Wales, who did well in the BBL earlier this year for Sydney Thunder. Sangha took 21 wickets from 14 games while conceding 8.08 runs per over. Sangha’s BBL campaign brought him into consideration for the selectors, bolstering the spin department already featuring Adam Zampa and Mitchell Swepson.
Daniel Sams’ is a noticeable exclusion for the West Indies tour after the pacer asked not to be deemed selectable for the series due to personal and mental health reasons. Sams was part of Australia’s T20I series in New Zealand. The paceman had tested COVID-19 positive before entering the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) camp ahead of the IPL 2021.
Australia kickstart their tour of West Indies with the first of five T20Is in St Lucia on July 9, followed by games on July 10, 12, 14 and 16. The ODI series, part of the ICC Super League, will have matches played in Barbados on July 20, 22 and 24, respectively.
Australia’s Caribbean sojourn could follow a visit to Bangladesh ahead of the T20 World Cup in India in October-November, with Ben Oliver, the head of national teams, saying that the squad has received permission for vaccination before its departure. A health safety procedure in line with that provided for Australia’s Olympic team, which is set to travel to Tokyo this year.
“It was great to see our Olympians receiving their vaccination shots ahead of the Tokyo Games and we are working through logistics for the Australian men’s team with the relevant agencies.” Oliver said. “We will comply with all government directives in relation to vaccinations and international travel.”
“The Australian men’s team has completed successful tours of England and New Zealand during the pandemic, including the accompanying quarantine periods, and we are hopeful of being able to travel to Bangladesh at the completion of the West Indies tour. Those discussions are progressing well and updates will be provided in due course,” he added.