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Australia ODI team vs West Indies: Debutants to have a ball at MCG but Victorian hopefuls snubbed

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1st February, 2024
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Australia could have tried to fill a few extra seats at the MCG on Friday by giving two Victorian home-grown prospects a run but instead they are set to miss out as another two debutants get the nod for the team’s first ODI match since securing a sixth World Cup title.

Only five members of the XI who famously defeated India in the World Cup final last November will appear on Friday when Australia host the West Indies, who did not even qualify for the showpiece tournament.

After terrorising Australian batters in the nets for the best part of 18 months, Western Australian quick Lance Morris is expected to finally make his international debut.

Queenslander Xavier Bartlett will also likely be part of a pace attack with Sean Abbott the most experienced quick with 18 ODIs to his name.

Despite the match being in Melbourne, selectors appear unlikely to opt for sentimental selections and are tipped to leave out uncapped Victorians Will Sutherland and Jake Fraser-McGurk.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 01: Jake Fraser-McGurk, Will Sutherland, Xavier Bartlett and Matt Short pose for a photo during a One Day International media opportunity at Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 01, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Jake Fraser-McGurk, Will Sutherland, Xavier Bartlett and Matt Short at Melbourne Cricket Ground. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

But Matt Short, who is coming off another dominant BBL campaign with the Adelaide Strikers after being named player of the tournament, will keep the home crowd happy.

Short played two ODIs in India ahead of the World Cup and is determined to grab this opportunity.

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The 28-year-old has opened for Victoria in one-dayers, and for the Strikers, but could be forced to bide his time in the middle-order in Australian colours.

“To be honest I do feel more confident at the top of the order,” Short said on Thursday.

“But any opportunity to get playing for your country, whether it be through the middle or at the top … if the spot’s there to be taken you just have to take that opportunity.

“Try to do as best you can and sort of wait your turn.

“Hopefully some good performances in the middle order can maybe open up a spot up top.”

It has been a huge week for Short after he and his partner – Olympic swimmer Madi Wilson – publicly confirmed they were expecting their first child ahead of the Australian Cricket Awards in Melbourne.

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Steve Smith will captain the World Cup winners in Pat Cummins’ absence, with fellow quicks Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood also resting ahead of the looming tour of New Zealand.

The West Indies will approach the three-match series buoyed by their miracle win at the Gabba last week – their first Test win in Australia since 1997.

But the tourists still have a point to prove in white-ball cricket after missing out on qualifying for last year’s ODI World Cup.

They also sensationally exited the 2022 T20 World Cup before the main stage in a low point for West Indies cricket.

Two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain Daren Sammy has taken charge as white-ball coach, with the West Indies defeating England in a home series last year.

Likely XI: Steve Smith (c), Travis Head (vc), Matt Short, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Xavier Bartlett, Adam Zampa, Lance Morris. Reserves: Jake Fraser-McGurk, Will Sutherland.

West Indies squad: Shai Hope (c), Alzarri Joseph, Alick Athanaze, Teddy Bishop, Keacy Carty, Roston Chase, Matthew Forde, Justin Greaves, Kavem Hodge, Tevin Imlach, Gudakesh Motie, Kjorn Ottley, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh jnr.

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