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Clarke backs Wade as Khawaja, Stoinis hurt

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7th July, 2019
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Aaron Finch fears Usman Khawaja’s hamstring injury will rule him out of the World Cup, with Marcus Stoinis also headed for scans on his side.

Michael Clarke says Australia’s selectors must bring Matthew Wade into the World Cup squad if scans confirm fears Usman Khawaja’s tournament is over.

Khawaja’s injured left hamstring will be assessed on Sunday morning in England, as Australia count the cost of Saturday’s 10-run loss to South Africa.

Marcus Stoinis’ tournament is also in the balance, with scans booked in on another side strain.

This time it appears to be on his right after missing two games through a left side strain earlier in the tournament.

But most concern is for Khawaja ahead of Thursday’s semi-final against England.

He was forced to retire hurt five balls into his innings on Saturday before returning late in the failed chase.

“It doesn’t look ideal for Usman Khawaja at the moment,” captain Aaron Finch said.

“He’s done a couple of hammies before and he said it feels similar to that.

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“If they need to be replaced, which I believe Usman will, there are plenty of blokes to come in.

“We’ll map out every scenario but coming up over the next few days, we will know more about who is available.”

Peter Handscomb has already been brought into the squad from the Australia A tour to replace the injured Shaun Marsh.

He will be front-runner to come into the XI against England, possibly at No.4 with Steve Smith moving up to No.3.

Travis Head and Mitch Marsh are the likely other contenders to join the 15-man squad, with the latter’s chances firming given Stoinis’ concerns.

But after Wade hit 355 runs at an average of 88.75 and strike rate of 182.05 against English county clubs recently, Clarke said he had to be the first choice.

“I’m assuming, if you look at current form, they have to bring Matthew Wade in,” he told the ICC’s social media page.

“And then they make a decision with one of those two (Wade and Handscomb) having to play.”

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Wade’s last ODI was in 2017 but he played the bulk of his international career under the 2015 World Cup winning captain Clarke.

Another option could include wicketkeeper Alex Carey moving up the order, with his 89 on Saturday taking him to 329 runs for the competition – a record for anyone batting No.7 or below.

“That was something discussed leading into this game,” Finch said.

“It will be discussed leading into the next game no doubt.

“He’s played a couple of crucial innings for us in some difficult circumstances and difficult conditions.”

© AAP