Smith and Fraser-McGurk left out of Australia's T20 World Cup squad

Australia's Steve Smith during practice
Australia's Steve Smith during practiceReuters
Australia selectors have dropped veteran campaigner Steve Smith for the T20 World Cup and ignored calls to include Jake Fraser-McGurk in their squad despite the young batsman's sensational form in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Smith, a member of Australia's title-winning squad at the 2021 tournament in the United Arab Emirates, played T20s against New Zealand in February but was unable to push his claims further after missing out on an IPL contract.

With more than 16,000 runs in international cricket, Smith has been one of Australia's finest all-format servants and his omission will be a bitter pill for the 34-year-old.

Selectors chief George Bailey said there was no room for Smith in a settled top order featuring David Warner, Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh, who was confirmed as captain.

"It's probably for Steve to answer what his goals or challenges are going forward and what he wants to achieve in the game," Bailey told reporters in a video call on Wednesday. "I know he still loves playing T20 cricket."

Though uncapped in T20 internationals, 22-year-old Fraser-McGurk had made a strong case for inclusion, scoring 247 runs in five matches for the Delhi Capitals at an astonishing strike rate of 237.50.

Bailey said Fraser-McGurk was among players who were part of "long conversations" for the June 1-29 showpiece in the United States and the Caribbean, but his only hope of playing now rests with injuries occurring in the 15-man squad.

Selectors opted for a second spinner in Ashton Agar and picked Cameron Green as a back-up all-rounder while remaining loyal to the core of players who helped Australia win an unprecedented sixth 50-over World Cup in India last November.

Josh Inglis was included as a reserve wicketkeeper along with the seasoned Matt Wade.

Several players have struggled for form in the IPL, while Warner has missed cricket with bone bruising in his hand and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell took a mental and physical break from the game.

Bailey shrugged off the concerns, saying he expected everyone to be fit and ready when Australia start their World Cup campaign against cricketing minnow Oman in Barbados on June 5.

Australia have also been grouped with defending champions England along with Namibia and Scotland.

The Australians will bid to become the first nation to hold all three major global titles, having also won the World Test Championship last year.

Australia's squad: David Warner, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Tim David, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Ashton Agar, Cameron Green, and Nathan Ellis.


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