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Marsh to return as Australia ramp up World Cup preparations against West Indies

By Harry Carr

Melbourne, October 4: Mitchell Marsh will return to the batting order when Australia step up their T20 World Cup preparations against West Indies on Wednesday (October 5), captain Aaron Finch has confirmed.

Meanwhile, Marcus Stoinis is expected to return for Sunday's opening T20I against England, having joined Marsh in missing the recent tour of India.

Marsh has not featured since an ODI outing against Zimbabwe in August after sustaining an ankle injury, leaving Cameron Green to deputise throughout last month's 2-1 series defeat in India.

While Marsh will not bowl against the Windies, Finch believes a place at number three is his to lose, saying: "One-hundred per cent, he's made that spot his own in T20 cricket.

"I think the way that he played in the lead-up and then through the World Cup [last year] is so important for the way that we want to play and gives us a lot of flexibility through that middle order.

"I think he had his second bowl yesterday and he felt really good. He pulled up well from it. So that's a really positive sign.

"I think for the balance of the side, it's better when they [Marsh and Stoinis] are both bowling because you can get caught a little bit short if you go in with five bowlers. But we'll work that out."

Having suffered a side strain in early September, Stoinis has not travelled to the Gold Coast for Australia's meetings with the Windies, but will join the squad in Perth for the first of three matches against England.

Finch is hopeful over Stoinis' fitness, highlighting the role of logistics in that decision as he added: "He's at a level where we think that he'll be fully fit for that first game against England.

"We were just conscious of the travel with a quick turnaround. It can be quite a high-risk game for some guys with some soft tissue injuries so he's just still planning and preparing there.

"He's such an important part of our side and the make-up of it, especially with his bowling."

While Green performed well in India, recording scores of 62 and 52, Finch doubts whether he can force his way into Australia's 15 for the World Cup if Marsh and Stoinis stay fit.

"I don't think so," Finch added. "It's just one of those things. He had a really good tour of India. It was good for him to get an opportunity to open the batting.

"I think he'll get an opportunity at some point in this series. Obviously his batting is exceptional and he shows a lot with the ball.

"He keeps improving every time he gets an opportunity but over the next few weeks, he'll get a run, no doubt."

Australia begin their World Cup defence against neighbours New Zealand on October 22

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Story first published: Tuesday, October 4, 2022, 14:36 [IST]
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