Need for flexibility costs Fraser-McGurk World Cup spot

Scott Bailey |

Mitch Marsh will captain Australia at the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Mitch Marsh will captain Australia at the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Australia’s iron-clad top order and a need for flexibility has cost Jake Fraser-McGurk a Twenty20 World Cup spot, with the hottest player in the Indian Premier League unable to break into the squad.

Australia’s selectors appointed Mitch Marsh as the nation’s new short-form captain on Wednesday as they named a 15-man squad for next month’s World Cup.

Steve Smith is the biggest omission, with the former captain to miss a global event for the first time since 2012.

But the most controversial non-selection is that of Fraser-McGurk.

The 22-year-old has blitzed the IPL for the past fortnight, hammering 259 runs at a strike-rate of 233.33 for Delhi.

He leads the IPL for strike-rates of batters with more than 100 runs, clearing the rope with one of every five balls he faces.

But that has not been enough to crack Australia’s squad, with David Warner and Travis Head to open and Marsh coming in at No.3.

Steve Smith.
Steve Smith will miss a World Cup with Australia for the first time since 2012. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

“His form has been great of late,” chief selector George Bailey said of Fraser-McGurk.

“But the way we’re functioning at the top of the order with the three guys we’ve had there has been really strong as well.

“Ultimately, in that squad of 15, we’re looking to get that balance we want in for each game with different opponents, different venues and different surfaces.”

There is a thought the World Cup will not prove as high scoring as the IPL, given the short boundaries in India and the use of the Impact Player rule.

Bailey said there had been no consideration for using Fraser-McGurk as a finisher at the expense of Tim David or Marcus Stoinis.

Instead, Cameron Green was selected to offer more flexibility – despite his last international T20 coming in November 2022.

“I’m not sure how much work (Jake) has actually done in other positions,” Bailey said.

“But he certainly looks like top of the order is where he’s best-suited.

“We’ve got some other guys that have got some good flexibility around where they bat.”

The door is still ajar for Fraser-McGurk, with Warner battling a finger injury in the IPL ahead of what would be his international farewell.

Australia’s selectors hope Warner will return by the end of the tournament, buoyed by the fact he has suffered no bone damage.

Officials have until May 25 to change the squad, while Fraser-McGurk could also travel as a non-playing reserve in case of injury.

Marsh is set to resume batting soon after being sent home from India with a hamstring injury.

Mitch Marsh
Mitch Marsh will captain Australia at the T20 World Cup. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

The new captain is still some way off bowling ahead of Australia’s opener against Oman on June 5.

Ashton Agar is back in the squad as a second spinner alongside Adam Zampa, with Glenn Maxwell giving Australia an option of playing three spinners.

Josh Inglis will serve as a back-up wicketkeeper to Matthew Wade, while Nathan Ellis is a fourth quick alongside the usual trio.

AUSTRALIA’S PROVISIONAL SQUAD FOR T20 WORLD CUP

Mitch Marsh (capt), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis,  Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matt Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

AAP