Like a number of teams over the last few weeks, Australia have been trying to reach the start line of the World Cup without any further major setbacks. They have had to manage a lengthy injury list but have just about got there.
If a reminder was needed of how seriously to take the last couple of warm-up matches, the sight of David Warner ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/david-warner-219889) sending down two overs of long hops and full tosses against Pakistan (albeit nearly conjuring a wicket which would have given him plenty of social media content) reinforced that it’s dangerous to read too much into the final stretch of preparation.
There was a grain of truth when George Bailey, the national selector, joked before the match against Netherlands that if there were any Australians around Kerala they should pop down for game – for some players there has been a risk of too much cricket and it’s been all about getting to Chennai where they face India on October 8.
Form and fitness coming together for Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/glenn-maxwell-325026) is a pivotal player in Australia’s hopes of another title, even more so now that he is effectively the second frontline spinner alongside Adam Zampa. He struck a breezy 77 off 71 balls in Hyderabad, a significant stint in the middle to test the durability of his previously broken leg, then backed that up with a tidy eight overs.
“There’s always that weariness I suppose mentally – ‘how’s it gonna go tonight?’ But once I get moving I’m absolutely fine,” Maxwell told reporters.
“My warm-up’s probably a little bit more structured these days. Have to do all those little things that I negated early in my career – I used to just run out here and go 100 percent and I was fine. But probably 1696389725 just a little bit more thought around how much time I spend out there in the warm up and certain little drills I have to do.”
Then there was the timely half-century for Cameron Green ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/cameron-green-1076713), who has struggled with the bat for much of the year since the IPL. It was his first fifty since the 47-ball hundred he struck for Mumbai Indians in May.
The concussion he suffered in South Africa disrupted preparations, but he would appear inked in ahead of Marcus Stoinis ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/marcus-stoinis-325012) who has not appeared in either of the warm-up matches or the last two ODIs against India.
The fact fellow allrounder Mitchell Marsh has bowled in consecutive matches having not been used at all against South Africa and India is another plus when it comes to balancing the side.
Josh Inglis vs Alex Carey?
Alex Carey ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/alex-carey-326434) could have done with a substantial innings ahead of the tournament, but he was run out for 11. Aside from the 99 he flayed in a heavy defeat at Centurion, he has been unconvincing with the bat with only one other score over 20 against South Africa, India and in these two warm-ups.
It is unlikely Australia will move away from him, at least early in the tournament, partly because he adds a left-handed option in a right-hand dominated batting order. However, Josh Inglis ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/josh-inglis-662235) gave a reminder of his versatility with a lively 48 off 30 balls in the closing stages.
With preparations now almost complete, and Australia working with 14 fit players for now until Travis Head ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/travis-head-530011) recovers from his broken hand, it would appear that their XI to face India is taking shape. Marnus Labuschagne has surely done enough to lock himself in at No. 4 behind Warner, Marsh and Steven Smith.
Having been heavy on allrounders in the lead-up, there has been shift back towards the big three quicks – captain Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood – lining up together, although Sean Abbott ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/sean-abbott-398666) could still be in the frame if they want to lengthen the batting at No. 8. But with nine round-robin matches plus a heavy travel schedule, it’s likely the entire squad will be needed at some point.