Marsh on track for World Cup opener, but won't bowl

Coach Andrew McDonald confirms skipper Mitch Marsh as a certain starter and details Australia's plans leading into their first match against Oman

'Everything we needed': Coach McDonald happy with warm-ups

Mitch Marsh will not step up to the bowling crease in his first World Cup match as captain but has nonetheless been declared fit to play in Australia's tournament opener next week.

Marsh missed out with the bat in both the Aussies' warm-up matches in Trinidad, following his 18 off 14 balls against Namibia with 4 off 4 against West Indies on Friday morning (AEST), leaving him short on time at the crease heading into the Aussies' clash with Oman in Barbados on Wednesday (Thursday morning AEST).

The allrounder did not field for the full bowling innings in either practice match as he recovers from a hamstring injury that cut short his Indian Premier League, leaving deputy Matthew Wade to call the shots in the field.

But while a timeline on Marsh's return to bowling is unclear, coach Andrew McDonald insisted the recently-appointed T20I captain would be right for the Oman contest at the famed Kensington Oval.

"For Mitch, (the warm-up games) was about ticking off where his body was at," McDonald told

"He fielded more overs tonight, he was able to move more freely, so he's building a little bit of confidence there. It looks as though he's all set for the first game.

"The second part is just when the bowling comes back online … it won't be the first game."

Marsh's slow recovery is the main concern for an otherwise fit 15-man squad that will assemble for the first time in Barbados this weekend.

Marcus Stoinis arrived in Trinidad on Wednesday but did not play against West Indies when he otherwise might have because his cricket gear was lost in transit on his flight to the Caribbean.

Stoinis runs the drinks against the West Indies after his cricket gear failed to arrive in Trinidad // Tama

Pat Cummins, Travis Head, Mitchell Starc, Glenn Maxwell and Cameron Green missed the warm-up fixtures after playing in the IPL finals and will all link up with the squad in Barbados.

The bulk of the squad have won both ODI and T20 World Cups before and Australia have prioritised time at home for their IPL players over the practice games.

"It was by design, in terms of when we were getting people back after the IPL; we were well aware we weren't going to get the squad together until the first of next month," said McDonald.

McDonald and his assistant coaches were required to field in the warm-up matches // Tama

"We've got some things in place where we'll bring the group together, we'll work through our plans leading into Oman and there's a bit of space between that game and (playing) England.

"We feel as though we have plenty of time to bring that group together. It's a familiar group, they've played a lot together. If they hadn't played a lot together then the prep might have looked different.

"We feel comfortable though as they know how to play with each other. It will just be finalising the XIs for the games, and the balances that we want. We've got plenty of options."

The Australians were hardly panicking after coughing up a mammoth 4-257 against the power-packed West Indies, who appear one of the standout teams in a tournament they are co-hosting.

Given the lack of alternative bowling options, Australia were forced into sending down 12 overs of spin on a pitch taking little turn and in conditions so slippery they had to change balls four times. 

The Aussies also trialled several tactics – Ashton Agar bowled a host of arm balls in the Powerplay, while Adam Zampa bowled a lot of wide deliveries – they would not otherwise have necessarily employed in a match for points.

"To concede 260-odd runs in a T20 game is not ideal," said McDonald.

"But we were working through some plans, we were working through what we needed to get out of the game, so there was a little bit of … working on certain deliveries and certain things that can unfold.

"I'm sure the West Indies were the same as well, I'm sure they were working on things that weren't associated with the opponent they were playing."

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

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