Injured Cummins, Smith, Starc and Maxwell in Australia’s provisional squad, Abbott earns maiden World Cup call-up

Melbourne: Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell were all included in Australia’s 15-member provisional squad despite injuries while bowling all-rounder Sean Abbott earned his maiden World Cup call-up.

Cummins and Smith are nursing wrist injuries they picked up during the Ashes, while Starc and Maxwell are out with a groin problem and ankle issue respectively.

Of the quartet, only Cummins is in the ODI squad to face South Africa, starting Thursday. However, his participation is also doubtful.

All four are in a race against time to get fit for the marquee event, staring in India on October 5.

“All are well placed to come back online in the coming weeks and potentially for selection in the upcoming series against India,” selection chief George Bailey said.

“There are eight one-day matches still to play in South Africa and India before the final squad is due to be declared.

“They are followed by two World Cup practice games, which offers plenty of opportunity to continue the build for the tournament,” he added.

The 31-year-old Abbott trumped fellow quick Nathan Ellis for a spot in the squad, while Aaron Hardie and leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha also failed to make the cut.

All-rounders are of huge importance in limited-overs cricket and Australia have preferred to go with multi-talented players. Apart from Abbott, the five-time champions have also picked Mitchell Marsh, Cameron Green, Marcus Stoinis as the seam bowling all-rounders.

Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar are the two specialist spinners picked while Josh Inglis has been included as the back-up wicketkeeper.

Changes to the 15-player squad can be made until September 28.

Australia are scheduled to play a five-match ODI series against South Africa following which they will travel to Indian to play three ODIs, starting September 22.

Australia will then play the Netherlands and Pakistan in the World Cup warmup matches on September 30 and October 3 respectively.

They will open their World Cup campaign against hosts India in Chennai on October 8.

Australia squad:  Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.