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News

Fraser-McGurk did 'turn heads' in T20 World Cup selection debate

The explosive opener will be a traveling reserve on the back of his outstanding IPL

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
21-May-2024
Jake Fraser-McGurk's stunning IPL made Australia's selectors ponder a change to their T20 World Cup planning before it was decided they could not find room for him in the 15-player squad which will travel to the Caribbean.
As previously reported, Fraser-McGurk will be with Australia at the World Cup having been confirmed as one of their two traveling reserves alongside allrounder Matthew Short but will need a tournament-ending injury to play a role.
Despite an impressive home summer which included an ODI debut against West Indies, he had been a long shot to enter World Cup discussions until he took the IPL by storm having been called in as a replacement player for Delhi Capitals. He went on to hammer 330 runs at an eye-watering strike rate of 234.04 including two 15-ball half-centuries.
But with him competing for a spot in Australia's well-established top three of David Warner, Travis Head and captain Mitchell Marsh - and not providing an all-round option - he did not make the final cut when the initial squad was named, with no changes being made ahead of the final deadline of May 25.
"There's no doubt that he did turn our heads and he was a huge discussion when it come to the final 15," head coach Andrew McDonald told SEN radio. "He was running hot and there's no doubt he will run hot into the future.
"There's no doubt what he did in the IPL, he lit it up, he's an extraordinary talent and he's going to give fans much delight across the journey. In discussing the 15-man squad, we needed to cover all bases in the way we wanted to play and there was a lot of building that went into that over a period of time."
Fraser-McGurk has previously said how he was comfortable with not making the final squad.
"There's two ways you can look at it. You can look at it through, 'this is what I've done to prove my case,' and then there's also, 'look, a month and a half ago I wasn't even in the picture'," he told the Willow Talk podcast. "If I do somehow get a travelling reserve [spot] then great, I can get a good experience there. It didn't really bother me a hell of a lot because I wasn't in this position to sort of feel like I've earned that yet. World Cup cricket is a lot different to IPL and franchise cricket."
However, it is unlikely Fraser-McGurk will have to wait long for another chance at international level with a turnover of players expected to begin in Australia's white-ball sides after the T20 World Cup. He appears certain to feature on the tour of England in September where he shapes as Head's future opening partner in the post-Warner era.
"Think that would be a good indication, think that's where we would head," McDonald said of the future top order. "It may be somewhere in that top three and we're not dismissing the fact that he may be able to play a role in the middle order as well.
"Matthew Short will be vying for that as well and think in the Jake Fraser-McGurk conversation we are probably dismissing what Matthew Short has been able to do domestically as well. So we feel we have a couple of young talented players who are ready to go when we need them."
Warner, who will close out his international career at the T20 World Cup, picked up a hand injury during his IPL campaign with DC. He returned towards the end of the tournament before being left out of the last match. "We believe he's fully fit, everything he says he's fully fit…we have no fears that he won't be fit and fully available," McDonald said.
However, McDonald confirmed that Marsh is unlikely to be able to bowl early in the tournament as he makes a slower-than-expected return from the hamstring injury which ended his IPL stint early. But he will be able to feature in the two warm-up matches against Namibia and West Indies as a batter.
Australia are set to have just ten of their squad available for those practice matches in Trinidad with the five players who will feature in the IPL knockouts - Head, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Glenn Maxwell and Cameron Green - joining the squad in Barbados ahead of the opening match against Oman on June 5.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo