Travis Head Ruled Out for First Half of World Cup, Labuschagne Back in Frame

Australia’s opener Travis Head will miss the first half of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India due to a fractured hand, while Marnus Labuschagne is back in contention for the tournament after performing well in the South Africa series.

Australia’s opener, Travis Head, is set to miss the first half of the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India due to a fractured hand, according to Australia’s coach, Andrew McDonald. This development comes after Australia’s 2-3 series defeat against South Africa.

Head sustained the injury when he was struck on the hand by a rising delivery from Proteas paceman Gerald Coetzee during Australia’s run chase in the fourth ODI.

Andrew McDonald revealed that Head will not require surgery for the injury, which involves a joint in his left hand. However, it remains uncertain whether the opener will be able to participate in the upcoming 50-over event in India as he will need over a month to recover.

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“The timeframe is still a bit uncertain at the moment, but the good news is he won’t require surgery as it currently stands. He will be out for an extended period of time, and we have to consider whether his recovery period coincides with the option of including him in the front half of the World Cup,” McDonald stated.

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“It’s certain that he won’t be available for the first half, so we’ll have to make a decision for the final 15-player squad. However, I can’t provide an exact time frame,” McDonald added, as reported by the Cricket.com.au website.

Travis Head’s injury has opened up opportunities for Marnus Labuschagne, who has regained favor in the team after finishing as the leading run-scorer in the South Africa series with 283 runs at an impressive average of 70.75.

“I can’t speak on behalf of the selection panel and confirm his place in the World Cup 15, but it certainly seems likely,” said McDonald regarding Labuschagne’s prospects for the World Cup.

“He has made a significant change in his approach at the crease, putting more pressure on the bowlers than he did perhaps 12 months ago. His strike rate in this series has been around 100, and we know that Marnus is a quality player. Although he may not have had the 12-18 months in one-day cricket that he would have liked, he has certainly seized this opportunity, and there’s no doubt he will be at the forefront when it comes to selecting the 15-man squad,” McDonald added.

During the fifth and final ODI against South Africa at Wanderers ground, Australia also suffered two more injuries. Pacers Nathan Ellis and Sean Abbott picked up fresh injuries during the match.

Ellis suffered an adductor strain and was unable to complete his spell after bowling eight overs. He will undergo further assessment.

Abbott sustained a split webbing on one of his fingers while fielding and needed stitches. However, he managed to finish his spell, and McDonald indicated that he should be fit to face India in the upcoming series.

As a precautionary measure, Aaron Hardie will travel with the ODI squad from South Africa to India as cover for Ellis and Abbott.

Teams have the flexibility to make changes to their World Cup squads until the September 28 deadline.

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