Marsh progress 'slower than expected'

No fears for T20 captain's involvement as non-IPL members of World Cup squad assemble in Brisbane

Mitch Marsh is on track to lead Australia in their T20 World Cup opener against Oman on June 5 (June 6 AEST) but his recovery from an injured right hamstring has been "a little slower than expected".

Marsh left the Indian Premier League in early April after suffering the injury while playing for the Delhi Capitals but was back in the nets with a handful of his Australian teammates in Brisbane on Tuesday.

Members of Australia's World Cup squad who aren't taking part in the IPL will be put through their paces in a training camp at the National Cricket Centre over the coming weeks before they jet off for the Caribbean in late May.

Marsh was one of those who had a hit in the nets on Tuesday morning, but coach Andrew McDonald told reporters while it was promising to see the newly-appointed captain have a hit, he is still a couple of weeks away from returning to the bowling crease.

"He's progressing well. Probably a little slower than expected," McDonald said.  

"But we've got plenty of time now that he has been ruled out the IPL.

"(Our) first game is just short of a month away now. So ample time for him to get ready.

"You probably won't see him bowl in the next couple of weeks here. It'll probably happen the week before we leave. And then he'll be able to ramp that up when we're over there.

"We'll be able to cherry pick the moments during the tournament where he'll be useful with the ball, (and) we've got some all-round depth in the squad, which gives us good coverage anyway."

The allrounder told reporters last week that he was still some way off full fitness, but the Australian coach isn't concerned about lack of match fitness for the 32-year-old, whose last competitive hit was on April 4.

Although yet to be confirmed by the ICC, Australia are expecting to play some warm-up fixtures in Trinidad and Tobago in the week leading into the tournament proper, giving the likes of Marsh the perfect opportunity to tune up for the opening match.

"No real concern about match fitness," McDonald said.  

"We've got a couple of practice games when we get to Trinidad in the support period, so he'll have plenty of match opportunities, and if not we'll be able to simulate those through practice/

"By the first game against Oman, we're confident he'll be up and running."

Marsh was officially named captain of the squad on May 1 after a successful run in the role on the tour of South Africa in August and September 2023, paving the way for him to take the reins at home against West Indies and away to New Zealand over the summer.

But should Marsh not be fit enough in time for the first match of the World Cup – for which McDonald flagged he would not be rested for – there is no shortage of leadership options in the squad.

Test and ODI captain Pat Cummins is a staple of the XI, while Matthew Wade captained Australia in India late last year, as well as in the third T20 against New Zealand in February. Nathan Ellis, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head and Adam Zampa have all captained their respective Big Bash teams too.

"We've got ample depth in the leadership space there with Matthew Wade, who's led before when Mitch hasn't been available. And obviously Pat Cummins has some leadership qualities," McDonald said.

More broadly, the coach is content with how the wider squad is placed.

Although selection chair George Bailey didn't nominate any travelling reserves for the World Cup, he did confirm a decision on those players would be made at a later date. The ICC's deadline for finalised squads is on May 25.

And McDonald said the selection staff would be keeping their options open, with up to seven additional players in consideration for the travelling reserves positions.

As per ICC regulations, teams are permitted to name up to three travelling reserves, although Australia opted to pick only one for their successful ODI World Cup campaign last year – spinner Tanveer Sangha.  

 "Should anything shift or move, or new information comes our way and then we'll have to make some decisions from there," McDonald.

"But we'll have 20-22 players up and running, should anything go amiss with the people that have been picked in the 15."

2024 ICC Men's T20 World Cup

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

Australia's Group B fixtures

June 6: v Oman, Kensington Oval, Barbados, 10.30am AEST

June 9: v England, Kensington Oval, Barbados, 3am AEST

June 12: v Namibia, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua, 10.30am AEST

June 16: v Scotland, Daren Sammy Stadium, St Lucia, 10.30am AEST

Super Eights, finals to follow if Australia qualify

For the full list of fixtures click here. All matches will be broadcast live on Amazon Prime