Light on spin, heavy on confidence - Australia enter familiar territory

What role will Travis Head play at World Cup for Australia? (2:22)

Australia selector George Bailey talks of how he hopes Travis Head will make a return from injury and be available for the latter part of the ICC Cricket World Cup (2:22)

World Cup pedigree: Australia have a proud history in the ODI World Cup having won the title five times, including a hat-trick in 1999, 2003 and 2007. They were also triumphant on home soil in 2015 led by Michael Clarke but fell at the semi-final stage in 2019 where they were steamrolled by the England juggernaut. They have, however, had a world title since then when they somewhat unexpectedly claimed the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE. Regardless of how Australia lead into a global event, they usually find a way of being in the mix when it matters.

Recent form: After looking promising, it has become indifferent. They started their September lead-in - which has arguably involved too many matches - by going 2-0 up in South Africa before the home side won three in a row to take the series. They were then comprehensively beaten in the first two matches against India before securing a consolation victory in Rajkot. The top order looks in pretty solid form, but there are question marks lower down and concerns over the death bowling.

Selection: One late, and significant, change with Marnus Labuschagne, who wasn't in the one-day plans a month ago, replacing the injured Ashton Agar after the selectors opted to carry an injured Travis Head through the first part of the tournament. Head, who broke his hand in South Africa, is not expected to be available until the midway point of the group stage. It leaves Australia with just one specialist spinner in Adam Zampa and a lot resting on Glenn Maxwell.

Squad: Pat Cummins (capt), David Warner, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Marcus Stoinis, Sean Abbott, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa

Key player: Mitchell Starc has a wonderful World Cup record having been the leading wicket-taker in 2019 and sharing the tag with Trent Boult in 2015. Australia have been short of new-ball wickets in the lead-in, which has often left them exposed at the death. So Starc's ability to exploit the first few overs where the white ball might move could be vital. He will also be an important wicket-taking threat in the middle overs and an option at the death. However, he is coming off an injury having picked up a groin strain at the end of the Ashes, so has not had much game time leading into the tournament.

Rising star: Overall, it's a very a senior squad so this has to go to Cameron Green even though he has been around the scene for a few years. It's been a difficult build-up for him after he suffered a concussion in South Africa, which ruled him out of three matches. He has struggled to find rhythm with the bat and was plundered for 103 off his 10 overs in Indore. Having opted for the IPL this year, where he went for mega bucks, he has only had a handful of nights at home since March. But there is little doubting his talent. Has anyone mentioned he has buckets for hands, too?

World Cup farewells? With the T20 World Cup next June, the players from this squad who also feature in the 20-over side will make it to that event, but in terms of 50-over cricket, this tournament will mark a changing of the guard. David Warner will soon retire, and Steven Smith will be 38 by the next ODI World Cup, as will Maxwell. Starc will have called it a day, too, and probably Josh Hazlewood. Pat Cummins may not reach 2027, either. Mitchell Marsh is viewed as the next ODI captain but another four years could be a stretch.