Glenn Maxwell still recovering from cramps as Australia set sights on next week's semi-final
Maxwell under cloud, Abbott in mix to face Bangladesh
Glenn Maxwell is still feeling the effects of his exhausting double century and could be put on ice for Australia's dead-rubber final group match, while Sean Abbott is in the mix to play his first game of the World Cup.
Maxwell is still recovering from the full-body cramps that plagued him in his memorable innings against Afghanistan earlier this week and did not train on the eve of the clash with Bangladesh.
With sights firmly set on their semi-final against South Africa, almost certainly to be played in Kolkata on Thursday, the fitness of the man who is clearly Australia’s most important player is a priority.
After his match-winning hand at the Wankhede, Maxwell has hit 397 runs from 260 balls in this World Cup, averaging nearly 80 with a tournament-high strike-rate of 153, while he has also been his side's most economical bowler.
"He's definitely been in full recovery mode the last few days. I think we all saw the effects of the innings and in particular the heat," assistant coach Daniel Vettori told reporters on Friday.
"Today's a big day to see how he pulls up. We'll just see how he feels as the day continues on but it's obviously been pretty hectic for him the last few days.
"It'll be how he feels – I don't think it'll be a fitness-test scenario. We understand that obviously now that the semi-final is pretty definitive in Kolkata that it will be a build towards that.
"He does have a track record of being able to bounce back pretty quickly, even with some time away from the game."
Steve Smith's expected return from vertigo to face Bangladesh would soften the blow of missing Maxwell.
Smith, who made one of his best Test centuries at this venue on a raging turner in 2017, showed no signs of the dizziness symptoms that plagued him in the lead-in to the Afghanistan game.
The right-hander joined teammates in an extensive range-hitting session on Friday afternoon, sending police officers, security guards and groundstaff ducking for cover on the sidelines, as he batted for more than two hours.
The fact Smith played golf during the week also suggests he is nearing a full recovery.
The Aussies may consider giving one or more of their fast bowlers a spell, which could see Abbott blooded for his first game of the tournament.
Captain Pat Cummins, along with Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, have all played eight games in less than five weeks, a feat Australia had not thought likely at the tournament's outset.
"If you take it all the way back to the start to try and get those three fast bowlers through nine games in a short period of time, we always probably presume that that would be a tough challenge," said Vettori.
"Sean was always in the picture as a potential replacement for one of them, so I think that'll come into the equation once again, just weighing up how everyone comes through these last few days.
"I don't think it'll be a case of trying to play a game just for the sake of it – it'll be a case of if one of those three fast bowlers needs a bit of a break."
Abbott has impressed as a new-ball bowler for Australia in ODI series in recent years having emerged as one of the most prolific wicket takers in domestic cricket.
"He's covered all bases for Australia in the past. I think back to the Top End series a little while ago (against New Zealand and Zimbabwe), I think he opened the bowling and did exceptionally well.
"We know his strengths from Big Bash, being able to back-end an innings. I think the role that we've most liked for our fast bowlers is that ability to come back through the middle stages and be an attacking option.
"I think if he gets the opportunity he'll definitely jump into that role – probably outside of the Powerplay and looking to be a wicket-taking option for us."
Adam Zampa has also played every match of the tournament and has battled more physical challenges than any of the pacemen, including a back spasm that was close to ruling him out of the Pakistan match.
He has been the most prolific wicket taker among spinners at this World Cup, despite taking 1-123 in his first two matches.
"It was obviously a very difficult start through injuries and illness to be able to actually play," said Vettori, the former orthodox spinner who remains New Zealand's all-time leading ODI wicket taker.
"His control of his length has been the best that I've seen in this period of time, particularly through those three games (against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Netherlands) where he took four wicket (hauls) in a row.
"We all know the skills and the variations, but his ability to actually just land the ball on the spot time and time again gave most teams limited opportunities to attack him.
"It is all about the length of control for him, because all the other skills are there. But when you combine that with that aspect of the game as well, he's almost unplayable."
Australia's 2023 ODI World Cup fixtures
October 8: Lost to India by six wickets
October 12: Lost to South Africa by 134 runs
October 16: Beat Sri Lanka by five wickets
October 20: Beat Pakistan by 62 runs
October 25: Beat Netherlands by 309 runs
October 28: Beat New Zealand by five runs
November 4: Beat England by 33 runs
November 7: Beat Afghanistan by three wickets
November 11: v Bangladesh, Pune, 4pm AEDT
November 15: First semi-final, Mumbai (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT
November 16: Second semi-final, Kolkata (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT
November 19: Final, Ahmedabad (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa