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Jake Fraser-McGurk, Matt Short set to be Australia's T20 World Cup travelling reserves

Australia are likely to name the in-form top-order batter in Fraser-McGurk and a batting all-rounder in Short rather than any spare bowlers

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
20-May-2024
Australia are set to take two travelling reserves to the T20 World Cup with Jake Fraser-McGurk and Matthew Short likely to be named as the 16th and 17th squad members who will join as cover in case of a tournament-ending injury to one of the first-choice 15.
Australia's chair of selectors George Bailey had suggested that Australia would carry just one reserve to the Caribbean when the provisional squad was announced, but they are likely to add a second with the in-form Fraser-McGurk set to be named alongside Short.
They have elected not to add a third frontline spinner as a travelling reserve. Legspinner Tanveer Sangha was with the squad as a reserve at the ODI World Cup last year when Australia had just one specialist spinner but this time Ashton Agar is included in the 15. Sangha is also understood to be managing a hip flexor issue and therefore wasn't in contention. Left-arm orthodox Matthew Kuhnemann trained with Australia's non-IPL players in Brisbane in the two camps held over the past fortnight but is yet to play a T20I for Australia despite playing Test and ODI cricket over the past two years.
Fraser-McGurk's omission from the main squad caused a stir given his stunning IPL form with many in Australia and overseas believing he should have been included. He has yet to make his T20I debut and has only played two ODIs. He was not selected in the main squad on the basis that Australia have an established top three in David Warner, Travis Head and captain Mitchell Marsh and that the selectors needed players with more versatility to fill roles outside the first-choice XI. Fraser-McGurk will likely provide cover if one of the top three gets injured during the tournament.
Short was also unlucky to miss out on a spot in the final 15 having appeared in nine of Australia's last 14 T20Is and also played in multiple batting roles. He opened in five games having been BBL player of the tournament in back-to-back seasons as an opener but batted at No. 3 once and No. 6 twice as Australia looked to build some middle-order depth. He only bowled his part-time offspin in four of those matches including an over in the powerplay in three of them. He is likely to provide cover for a number of different roles in the squad.
Australia have opted not to carry another fast bowler in their reserves as there may be times in the tournament they only play two of the four they selected in the squad. They have the capability of playing two spinners or the extra all-rounder in Cameron Green to lengthen the batting line-up down to No. 8.
Spencer Johnson, Xavier Bartlett and Sean Abbott will all be in the UK playing in the T20 Blast during the World Cup and can be flown into the Caribbean more easily than anyone remaining in Australia.
Australia's squad members not involved in the IPL finals will fly to the Caribbean on Thursday for a training camp in Trinidad that will include two practice matches against Namibia and West Indies on May 28 and 30 respectively. There is a potential that Australia will have limited numbers available for those matches with Head, Green, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell set for a delayed arrival due to the IPL playoffs not being completed until May 26.
But while New Zealand opted not to play any practice matches due to the logistical challenge of having chunks of their squad arrive at different times into the Caribbean, Australia are prepared to play the warm-up games with limited numbers to choose from.
A number of their players including, Marsh, Warner, Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa, Matthew Wade, Nathan Ellis and Josh Inglis have either played no cricket since the end of the Australian domestic summer in March or have played very little cricket in the IPL. Under ICC rules, only players named in the 15-man squad can play in the warm-up fixtures.
Marsh, Hazlewood, Inglis, Zampa and Agar have all trained in Brisbane over the past fortnight along with Short. Marsh is understood to have recovered from his hamstring injury but he is still yet to bowl.

Alex Malcolm is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo