Mitchell Marsh has been appointed as the captain of the Australian cricket team for the upcoming white-ball tour of South Africa. This decision comes in the wake of injuries sidelining key players Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc. Pat Cummins, another prominent figure, is also on the mend, leaving a leadership void that Marsh will now fill.
The absence of Steve Smith, nursing a tendon injury in his left wrist, and Mitchell Starc, grappling with groin soreness post his return from the UK, has thrown a curveball at Australia’s plans for the South Africa tour. Both Smith and Starc are expected to recover in time for Australia’s One Day International (ODI) series against India and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, with ample time to regain their full fitness before these crucial tournaments.
The decision to hand over the captaincy to Mitchell Marsh was driven by a strategic perspective, as George Bailey, the national selection panel chair, explained, “The compacted Ashes series and the World Test Championship was a heavy load for the group, and we are taking a conservative approach to the build-up to the World Cup.”
This decision is part of an effort to ensure that the Australian squad is in prime condition for the World Cup, which takes precedence in their priorities. Both Smith and Starc are set to rejoin the team during the Indian leg of the tour, fully fit and ready to contribute to the Indian ODI series and the World Cup warm-up fixture.
Pat Cummins, who is in the process of recovering from a fractured wrist sustained during the Ashes, is anticipated to join the team during the later stages of the South Africa tour, offering a boost to the Australian lineup.
In the lineup shuffle, Ashton Turner steps in for Steve Smith in the Twenty20 International (T20I) squad for South Africa. Additionally, Marnus Labuschagne and Spencer Johnson have been called up to replace both Smith and Starc in the ODI squad.
The South Africa tour will encompass three T20Is followed by a five-match ODI series, commencing on August 30th in Durban and concluding on September 17th in Johannesburg. As the tour approaches, Australia is focused on fine-tuning its strategy and lineup under Marsh’s leadership, aiming to overcome the challenges posed by the absence of key players and deliver an impressive performance on the field.
30 August: First T20I, Durban
1 September: Second T20I, Durban
3 September: Third T20I, Durban
7 September: First ODI, Bloemfontein
9 September: Second ODI, Bloemfontein
12 September: Third ODI, Potchefstroom
15 September: Fourth ODI, Centurion
17 September: Fifth ODI, Johannesburg
Australia T20 squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Sean Abbott, Jason Behrendorff, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Aaron Hardie, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa
Australia ODI squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa