Warner retained as Australia's squad for WTC final and Ashes confirmed

By Sports Desk April 18, 2023

Australia have named a 17-man squad for the upcoming ICC World Test Championship final and the first two Tests in the Ashes series in England, with David Warner backed despite his recent unconvincing form.

All-rounder Mitchell Marsh, opening batsman Marcus Harris and wicketkeeper Josh Inglis have earned recalls with few major shocks in the Australian touring party. Marsh missed most of the Australian summer due to an ankle injury.

Harris was preferred ahead of in-form opener Cameron Bancroft, despite the latter topping the 2022-23 Sheffield Shield scoring charts by almost 300 runs, with 945 runs at 59.06 including four centuries.

Peter Handscomb, Ashton Agar, Mitch Swepson and Matthew Kuhnemann miss out on selection after being called in for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India. Fast bowler Lance Morris is unavailable for selection due to a back injury.

Matthew Renshaw has retained his spot after scoring two centuries for Australia A against New Zealand A earlier this month, while 35-year-old Warner will return after a fractured elbow sustained during the India series.

Warner's selection will raise eyebrows, having scored just one Test century in his past 32 innings, albeit a gritty 200 in the recent Boxing Day Test against South Africa.

The veteran opener averaged only 9.5 across 10 innings in that last Ashes in England in 2019, with Stuart Broad dismissing him seven times.

Australia will take on India in the World Test Championship final from June 7 at The Oval in London, followed by the five-Test Ashes series from June 16 at Edgbaston. The selectors have clarified they will revisit the squad after the first two Ashes Tests.

"The UK is a very different assignment from our most recent tour of India and some of the changes are based upon the conditions we are anticipating," National Selection Panel Chair of Selectors George Bailey said.

"Marcus, Josh and Mitch return to the squad and provide valuable depth and flexibility within their respective skillsets.  

"We see value in revisiting the squad following the second Ashes Test given the short turnaround between the WTC final and the first Ashes Test, along with the length of the tour."

Australia won the 2021-22 Ashes on home soil 4-0, while the 2019 series in England ended 2-2. The Australians will compete in the World Test Championship final for the first time with New Zealand beating India to the inaugural crown in 2021.

Squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, David Warner

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