‘He’s one of the GOATs’: Marsh backs Warner to open the batting for Australia at the World Cup

Australia World

Mitch Marsh has conceded he expects to drop into the middle order for the World Cup, saying there is no way David Warner should not open the batting.

Marsh’s comments come as Australia make their first cuts to the squad for the tournament in India, with no major surprises in the 15-player extended side.

There was no room for spin prodigy Tanveer Sangha despite a four-wicket haul on his Twenty20 International debut late last month.

Paceman Nathan Ellis and all-rounder Aaron Hardie also drop out of the 18-player World Cup squad announced a month ago.

Death specialist Spencer Johnson, Mitchell Starc’s injury replacement for the imminent South Africa one-day international (ODI) series, has also been overlooked.

On-field preparations for the World Cup will ramp up on Thursday in South Africa, with the first of five ODIs scheduled for Bloemfontein.

Australia then have three games on the subcontinent, as well as warm-up matches against Netherlands and Pakistan, before their first round clash with India on October 8.

  • Australia ODI World Cup squad: Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith , Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

The majority of interest will remain at the top of the order, with Marsh, Warner and Travis Head all available for the South Africa series.

The latter pair impressed at home last summer against England, but when Warner was injured in India it was Marsh and Head that starred at the top.

Marsh averaged 97 in that series and went at a strike-rate of 131.08, to the point that when Warner returned for the final game it was the veteran who was moved down the order.

Despite that precedent, Marsh said he expected to give up the role for the World Cup.

“I expect to bat middle order,” Marsh said.

“Things may change, but Davey is literally one of the GOATs of one-day cricket and white-ball cricket in general.

“We have Travis Head and Australia’s best-ever all-three-format player there, so I dare say I probably won’t be opening the batting.”

A male batter goes for a sweep shot, with the wicketkeeper behind the stumps

Mitch Marsh was in fine form in the T20 series against South Africa.(Gallo Images via Getty Images: Sydney Seshibedi)

While unconvincing in Test cricket in recent years, Warner has averaged close to 50 in ODIs since his return in 2019 after his ball-tampering ban.

Marsh is in fine form, having blitzed the T20 showdowns with South Africa with scores of 92 not out, 79 not out and 15 in his first series as captain.

It comes off the back of a big Ashes series, in which he plundered a run-a-ball 118 on his return to the team for the third Test at Headingley.

“My approach now from Test cricket to T20 cricket won’t be too dissimilar,” Marsh said.

“Often it’s the situation of the game in Test cricket.

“There were times in Manchester where I couldn’t go out there and try and hit blokes for six and put pressure back on them. I just had to soak up deliveries.

“That is the intricacies of Test cricket. But generally my approach won’t change too much now.”

The squad can be changed up until September 28, after the ODI series against South Africa and India.