Marsh’s big blow as Aussies gamble on injury-prone star for epic $2.4m decider against India

Marsh’s big blow as Aussies gamble on injury-prone star for epic $2.4m decider against India

Australia has announced a trimmed 15-player squad for next week’s World Test Championship Final against India, with paceman Josh Hazlewood making the cut despite recent concerns about his fitness.

The Test squad convened in London over the weekend ahead of Australia’s six-Test tour of England, which kicks off at The Oval on Wednesday, June 7 for the highly-anticipated WTC Final.

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Australia has omitted all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and batter Matthew Renshaw for the marquee fixture against India, where both sides will be looking to secure their maiden title and pocket AU$2.4 million in prize money.

Marsh, serving as injury cover for West Australian teammate Cameron Green, has been nursing a minor adductor strain he sustained late in the Indian Premier League, News Corp reports.

Hazlewood, who returned home from the Indian Premier League early with a side complaint, has been named in the WTC Final squad despite debate on whether the 32-year-old should be wrapped in cotton wool ahead of the Ashes.

The injury-prone New South Welshman has only played four Tests since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, missing the recent Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India and the first half of the IPL due to an Achilles injury.

He is joined by fellow quicks Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland, but one of the four strike pacemen will presumably be sidelined for the WTC Final, most likely Hazlewood.

Uncapped wicketkeeper Josh Inglis and spin prodigy Todd Murphy also retained their spot in the squad.

“We knew when (Hazlewood) went to the IPL that everything would have to go perfectly on the back of the Achilles setback in India and this stage everything is good,” Australian coach Andrew McDonald told SEN last week.

“But it will have to go perfect for him to be part of that World Test Championship final and available.”

Australian bowler Josh Hazlewood. Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFPSource: AFP

Hazlewood’s inclusion denied Queensland all-rounder Michael Neser, who has been turning heads in the County Championship this season, any chance of earning an eleventh-hour Test recall.

“We feel it‘s almost like a home summer. We usually pick four quicks and travel around and add players when we need,” McDonald continued.

“We’ve got Michael and Sean (Abbott) over there and feel they can be added in at any time depending on if new information comes to us.”

Australia’s WTC Final squad

Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis (wk), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy, Steven Smith (vice-capt), Mitchell Starc, David Warner.

Reserves: Mitchell Marsh, Matt Renshaw

India’s WTC Final squad

Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishan Kishan (wk).

Reserves: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Mukesh Kumar, Suryakumar Yadav

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