Cummins out as Australia asked to bat in World Cup opener

Nathan Ellis in the starting XI with Pat Cummins left out to face Oman in Australia's group stage opening fixture

Pat Cummins has been left out for Australia's first match of the T20 World Cup with Nathan Ellis picked in a three-man pace attack to face Oman in Barbados.

Ashton Agar has also missed selection as Oman captain Aqib Ilyas elected to field first on a steamy evening at Kensington Oval, where a new wicket has been prepared after the venue's first two Cup games were played on the same surface.

Australia XI: David Warner, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh (c), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitch Starc, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood


Oman XI: Kashyap Prajapati, Pratik Athavale (wk), Aqib Ilyas (c), Zeeshan Maqsood, Khalid Kail, Ayaan Khan, Shoaib Khan, Mehran Khan, Shakeel Ahmad, Kaleemullah, Bilal Khan

Cummins' absence after leading the Sunrisers Hyderabad to the Indian Premier League final is a surprise with the Aussies insisting there are no fitness concerns over the star fast bowler.

The 31-year-old only arrived in the Caribbean late on Friday night after a series of flight delays extended his journey from Sydney, fresh off having played 16 IPL games in the space of two months.

But Cummins appears certain to return to the side for the England match on Saturday.

"Probably would have bowled first, get a look at the wicket, but happy to bat first," Australia captain Mitch Marsh said at the toss. 

Ellis was a standout performer during last week's two warm-up games in Trinidad and now has a chance to prove his credentials in his World Cup debut.

Agar might have expected to play given the Barbados surface generally favours spin, but the use of a fresh pitch and the presence of allrounder Glenn Maxwell alongside frontliner Adam Zampa gives Marsh ample spin coverage.

The Aussies stuck with their tried and tested batting line-up with Cameron Green unable to break in despite an impressive back-end of the IPL with Royal Challenges Bengaluru.

Oman are desperate to pull off an upset having tied their low-scoring match against Namibia and then lost in a Super Over.

They have made two changes to their XI with Pratik Athavale replacing Naseem Khushi as wicketkeeper, and Mohammad Nadeem making way for Shoaib Khan.

These two teams have never met in any format, with 19th-ranked Oman making their debut in the main draw of a World Cup.

Marsh warms up ahead of the clash with Oman // ICC via Getty

Marsh has admitted it has been a disjointed lead-in for the Test and ODI world champions but is confident that will not matter once the tournament begins.

"Got a really experienced group that have played a lot of cricket together," he said. "Had guys come from all over (the world after the IPL), but it's bloody exciting."

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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