Marnus Labuschagne will make his ODI debut for Australia in India this month.
Marnus Labuschagne will make his ODI debut for Australia in India this month.

Marnus set to be asked to master new role in India

MARNUS Labuschagne's unbreakable grip on the No.3 batting spot in Australia's Test team will not transfer to one-day cricket, with Steve Smith set to fill the place vacated by axed batsman Usman Khawaja.

Poised to make his white-ball debut for Australia in India next week,  Labuschagne will instead battle it out for a position in an overhauled middle order.

Smith, 30, spent the bulk of last year's World Cup batting at No.4.

However, with Usman Khawaja (hamstring) and Shaun Marsh (arm) injured, he made a patient 85 at No.3 in the semi-final loss to England.

The Aussies will stick with Smith and choose a combination of Labuschagne, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner and D'Arcy Short to fill the next few spots, with keeper Alex Carey also certain to feature.

Test star Josh Hazlewood is in line to replace opening bowler Jason Behrendorff (back) from the World Cup team and Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa are the key spin options.

Marnus Labuschagne was the undisputed star of Australia’s summer Test clean sweep.
Marnus Labuschagne was the undisputed star of Australia’s summer Test clean sweep.

World Cup all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis have been left at home and will continue to play Big Bash for the Melbourne Stars.

Caretaker coach Andrew McDonald said the Aussies had picked a full-strength squad for the series, which begins in Mumbai on Tuesday, although noted that selection also included an eye to the future.

Labuschagne, 25, Turner, 26, and Handscomb, 28, are prime examples of batsmen that Australia feels will be key players at the 2023 World Cup in India, and there is also a strong focus on T20 skills given there are two T20 World Cups in the next two years.

"You look at someone like Marnus coming in for the first time, the ability of him to get to the 2023 World Cup is real, isn't it?" McDonald told the Herald Sun.

Steve Smith will retain his spot at first drop from Australia’s World Cup semi-final against England.
Steve Smith will retain his spot at first drop from Australia’s World Cup semi-final against England.

"The 2023 World Cup is in India as well, so someone like Pete Handscomb - a really good player of spin - he's back in the side and he's had great success in India before.

"Ashton Turner as well. Those guys have been in and performed before and are they of the age demographic where they're going to make the 2023 World Cup? Well, the answer to that is probably yes.

"There's going to be some big (selection) decisions for that first game."

Short replaced Sean Abbott (side strain) in the 14-man squad last month.

"There's no doubt the selectors feel (Short's) someone that can take Australian cricket forward in the shorter formats," McDonald said.

"He's a powerful hitter, but also he gives us an option if we were to structure up with four bowlers and looking for our part-time spinners to get through 10 overs, himself and Marnus would pick that up.

"Marnus's bowling is going to be equally important."

McDonald studied vision of Virat Kohli's 16-man squad throughout the Test summer.

News Corp Australia


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