Australia open to extra spinner in T20 World Cup squad

Australia are eyeing a third spinner apart from Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell in the squad for the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024.

Despite missing out from the central contracts announced on Thursday, spinner Ashton Agar is firmly in the mix for the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 in the Caribbean Islands and USA, according to Australia Men's selection chairman, George Bailey.

Agar was among the big absentees in the 23-member contract list announced, but with conditions expected to aid spinners, Bailey felt that there was the option for a third spinner, aside from Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell, to be included in the 15-member squad for the tournament.

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"The balance of the squad will probably lend itself to having that second spinner there," Bailey told reporters.

"It still seems hard for everyone to get their head around the fact Glenn Maxwell's a pretty handy white-ball spinner and we don't necessarily consider him a part-time option, he's one that we consider a frontline option.

"So 'Zamps' will clearly be there, and I think there will be an opportunity potentially for one more.

"We will come together at the end of April to put a squad together for that and both Stoin [Stoinis] and Ash Agar [Ashton Agar] will be firmly in the mix for the squad."

Agar is Australia's second-highest wicket-taker in T20Is behind Zampa (92 wickets) with 48 wickets at an average of 22.35.

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But Agar hasn't played a T20I since the T20 World Cup game against Sri Lanka in 2022, when he replaced a Covid-infected Zampa.

He will face stiff competition from leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha, who featured in seven T20Is for Australia since the last T20 World Cup at home. Sangha picked up 10 wickets in these games, the same as Zampa, who played in eight matches.

Spin-bowling all-rounder Matthew Short is another option up Australia's sleeve. Unlike Sangha and Agar, Short was also awarded a central contract for the upcoming season.

Chris Green, the off-spinner who debuted against India last year, is the only other spinner aside from Zampa, Maxwell, Short, and Sangha, to have played in T20Is for Australia since the last T20 World Cup.

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If the selectors wish to extend the search outside the incumbent group, there were a few names who shone in the recent Big Bash League season.

Cameron Boyce, who last played a T20I in 2016, and Lloyd Pope, who first made a name in the ICC U19 Men's Cricket World Cup 2018, had good seasons in the BBL, taking 14 and 13 wickets respectively.

Mitchell Swepson, who has featured across formats until 2022, and Matthew Kuhnemann, who last played in the ICC World Test Championship series against India, are other names who could come into the mix.

NewsMen's NewsMT20 Cricket World CupICC Men's T20 World Cup, 2024