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Henriques debunks Faulkner theory

Allrounder says the message from selectors is he will fill Mitch Marsh's role at No.6 if selected during the Champions Trophy

Allrounder Moises Henriques has dismissed the suggestion that he effectively took the place of James Faulkner in Australia's squad for the ICC Champions Trophy, saying it was rather the injury to Mitchell Marsh that opened the door for him to win a spot.

Faulkner's omission was the major talking point when the 15-man squad was announced six weeks ago, with Henriques earning selection despite having played just two one-day internationals since Australia's World Cup triumph in 2015, in which Faulkner played a major role.

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Marsh, who has averaged 38 from 31 matches batting in the middle order since the World Cup, was also ruled out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury he picked up during Australia's Test tour of India in March.

Henriques has impressively averaged 69, 63 and 54 respectively in the past three editions of the Matador One-Day Cup, including a match-winning 85 in the 2016 final, while last summer he was the fifth-highest run-scorer in the Sheffield Shield (averaging 64) and the ninth-highest in the KFC Big Bash League. He also averaged 46 in the recent Indian Premier League.

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But his output with the ball has tailed off in recent seasons, partly due to injury; he bowled a combined total of just 100 overs in the Matador Cup and Sheffield Shield in the 2016-17 season, just three overs in the entirety of the BBL and averaged just two per game in the IPL.

And the 30-year-old says the clear message from selectors has been that if he's picked in the XI during this tournament, he will bat in the top six as Marsh has done over the past two years, rather than taking Faulkner's spot as a bowling allrounder batting at No.8.

"I don't think James's role would get filled by myself," Henriques said on Wednesday ahead of Australia's tournament opener against New Zealand on Friday. "I think that was possibly more for someone like John Hastings or Marcus Stoinis.

"That's certainly the message that I got from the selectors, that I wasn't there to replace James.

"I'm pretty aware of what my role is in the team, if I do play, and that's to go out and win games with the bat and do what I can with the ball when called upon.

"James is probably more of a bowling allrounder who chipped in with the bat in the lower order.

"Unfortunately (Marsh is) obviously injured at the moment, but over the past 18 months I feel like he's contributed a lot in the middle order.

"You never want to get picked in the team based on someone else's misfortune, but there was definitely an opportunity there with him missing out, especially since I've been heading more towards that batting allrounder role as well."

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Despite a shortage of international cricket in recent years, Henriques says his consistent form domestically in both Australia and India in that time gave him hope that a call-up would come.

Combined, the right-hander has averaged more than 30 and struck at better than 130 across 60 T20 matches in the BBL and Indian Premier League in the past three years, while he's scored almost 900 runs at 63 in the Matador Cup in that time.

"I was hopeful and I wasn't surprised to get the call," he said. "I was probably more so surprised about a couple of other tours where I didn't (get selected), to be honest. And that's not in a bad way.

"(I was picked) definitely on the back of my batting in not just the Matador Cup, but white-ball cricket as a whole in the last two or three years.

"Trevor (Hohns) was pretty clear in his message that that was the reason for my selection. And that's why I was confident and not so surprised that I was picked because the runs were on the board."

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There is seemingly one vacancy remaining in Australia's middle order for the match against the Black Caps on Friday at Edgbaston, with Henriques battling fellow allrounder Stoinis and batting powerhouse Chris Lynn for a spot in the XI alongside Steve Smith, Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell.

The NSW Blues skipper was hopeful rather than overly confident of forcing his way into the side, but he's keen to prove that he can take his strong domestic form to the next level.

"(The runs I've scored have not been) at international level yet so I'm really keen to get out there and start performing and winning games for Australia as well," he said.

"Because as we all know, playing cricket for your country asks a lot more questions than domestic cricket."


Champions Trophy 2017 Guide

AUSTRALIA SQUAD: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa

Other squads: Every Champions Trophy squad

Group A: Australia, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh.

Group B: India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan.


Schedule


Warm-up matches


26 MayAustralia d Sri Lanka by two wickets, The Oval

27 May Bangladesh lost to Pakistan by two wickets, Edgbaston

28 May India d New Zealand by 45 runs (D/L Method), The Oval

29 May Australia v Pakistan no result, Edgbaston

30 May New Zealand d Sri Lanka by six wickets, Edgbaston

30 May India d Bangladesh by 240 runs, The Oval


Tournament


1 JuneEngland v Bangladesh, The Oval (Day)

2 JuneAustralia v New Zealand, Edgbaston (D)

3 JuneSri Lanka v South Africa, The Oval (D)

4 JuneIndia v Pakistan, Edgbaston (D)

5 JuneAustralia v Bangladesh, The Oval (D/N)

6 JuneEngland v New Zealand, Cardiff (D)

7 JunePakistan v South Africa, Edgbaston (D/N)

8 JuneIndia v Sri Lanka, The Oval (D)

9 JuneNew Zealand v Bangladesh, Cardiff (D)

10 JuneEngland v Australia, Edgbaston (D)

11 JuneIndia v South Africa, The Oval (D)

12 JuneSri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (D)

14 JuneFirst semi-final (A1 v B2), Cardiff (D)

15 JuneSecond semi-final (A2 v B1), Edgbaston (D)

18 JuneFinal, The Oval (D)


19 June – Reserve day (D)


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