Quick Single: Australia name Champions Trophy squad
The biggest shock out of Australia’s 15-man squad announcement was the exclusion of Faulkner, who’s been a mainstay of the 50-over side in recent years. The allrounder has played in 34 of Australia’s last 55 ODIs and has established himself as an important contributor with his clever varieties with the ball as well as his lower-order hitting. While he hasn’t made a half-century in his last 29 ODIs, the left-armer has been a solid contributor with the ball, collecting 25 wickets at 22 since the beginning of last year’s Sri Lanka tour. Ultimately, though, he lost out to allrounders John Hastings and Marcus Stoinis, with the former’s experience in English conditions likely to have helped him get the nod.
The elegant left-hander opened the batting in three of Australia’s five ODIs against Pakistan in January but faced stiff competition for a top-order berth for the showpiece event. Aaron Finch captained Australia during the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy across the ditch, the side’s most recent 50-over series, while Travis Head struck a ton when he replaced Khawaja for the final ODI against Pakistan in Adelaide. The 30-year-old Queenslander is still searching for a breakthrough knock, having never reached triple figures in 18 ODIs.
The West Australian has only sporadically been included in the 50-over format in recent years but earnt a recall to the side for Australia’s tour of New Zealand in January-February when Steve Smith and David warner were absent. But the left-hander failed to make the most of his two chances, making scores of 16 and 22. Although he has three ODI hundreds under his belt, he hasn’t scored one against a Test-playing nation in more than six years and, like Khawaja, faced an uphill battle getting a look in amongst the top-order talent available.
A batsman who’s captained Australia in both limited-overs formats and holds an ODI average north of 40, Bailey knew the writing was on the wall when he lost his spot for the Pakistan series earlier this year. With no domestic one-day cricket to prove himself since then, Bailey couldn’t force his way back into the Champions Trophy squad despite strong Big Bash League and Sheffield Shield form following his axing. The Tasmanian was dropped after recording 288 runs at 36 in his 10 previous ODI innings before the Pakistan series. Coach Darren Lehmann stressed Bailey’s ODI career wasn’t over at the time and the strong record of the 34-year-old, who will captain Hampshire during the English domestic season, could count in his favour should Australia need a replacement batsman during the tournament.
By his own admission he had a few slices of luck on ODI debut, but the Victorian made the most of his good fortune in compiling 82 in his first outing in Australian gold. Handscomb also took the gloves on Australia’s tour of New Zealand after Matthew Wade flew home with a back injury but, with the first-choice wicketkeeper returning for the Champions Trophy, Handscomb’s best chance of being selected was likely as a back-up gloveman. Selectors decided against picking a second stumper but with the right-hander playing the county season for Yorkshire, he will only be a few hours’ drive away should injury strike.
With the likes of Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Pat Cummins all available, Stanlake wouldn’t have been holding out much hope of a Champions Trophy berth despite being selected in both of Australia's ODI squads earlier this year. The towering quick nonetheless made encouraging one-day and T20 international debuts last summer and his potential was underlined with a call-up to the Indian Premier League, where he’s played two matches so far for Royal Challengers Bangalore. If he can stay fit, Stanlake’s name is one likely to feature in future national squads.
Another to have played ODI cricket this year, the promising left-hander was a surprise choice to replace captain Steve Smith on the ODI tour of New Zealand earlier this year, having never played for Queensland in the domestic one-day tournament. He had struck a century on List A debut against a strong South Africa A side last year, however, and while he wasn’t seriously in contention for the Champions Trophy, he’s highly-rated by national selectors.