Further down the line, and far harder to predict an Australian XI for, is the men’s 50-over World Cup, which India will host in 2023.
That won’t stop us from having a crack anyway.
Here’s what Australia’s line-up could look like for the showpiece event.
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DAVID WARNER – 36 years old at World Cup 2023
He’s getting on a bit in his career at this point but we’re backing Warner to use this tournament as his parting piece. The veteran opener is fitter than ever in 2020, both physically and mentally refreshed after spending a year out of the game. He’s also flagged that he might give up the shortest format after this year’s T20 World Cup as he looks to extend his career – so we have every reason to believe he’ll still be crushing boundaries for Australia in 2023.
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JOSH PHILIPPE – 25
While we’re saying 36 won’t be too old for Warner, we’re predicting that he’s the exception. That means Aaron Finch – who will be the same age – doesn’t make our XI. In his place comes talented youngster Josh Philippe whose future looks awfully bright. He just scored the third-most runs (487 at 37.46) in the last BBL season while opening the batting for the Sydney Sixers and averaged a respectable 30 in the One-Day Cup. He’s not just making runs but he’s doing it with stylish play that has him looking like an exciting prospect for Australia.
STEVE SMITH (C) – 33
The glue in the side. With the exception of Virat Kohli, there’s no one in world cricket you’d prefer to have coming in at No.3 for your side. It may not be his strongest format, but Smith still averages more than 42 in ODIs and knows what World Cup success tastes like. At 33, he’ll have plenty left in the tank. He also gets the captaincy back once Finch retires.
MARNUS LABUSCHAGNE – 28
Already proving himself to be a multi-format star for Australia, Labuschagne still won’t even be in his prime by the time the next World Cup comes around, in theory. Batsmen often do their best work in their early thirties but the right-hander will be 28. He’ll also be with plenty of international cricket under his belt which should only make him stronger. After his first seven ODIs – which included tough assignments to India and South Africa – he’s averaging 50.83.
ALEX CAREY (WK) – 31
Australia’s white-ball wicketkeeper has endured a lean patch in recent times – he hasn’t made a half century in his past seven innings. But those who suggest he’s not the right man to keep the job have awfully short memories. The South Australian was one of Australia’s best batsmen at the last World Cup, making 375 runs at 62.50 including three fifties. He’s proven that he can deliver his best on the big stage and, at 31 years old, will be in the prime of his career. We’ve shifted him up to No.5 as he’s capable of going big with some extra time on his side.
CAMERON GREEN – 23
Green was something of a shock omission in our predicted Ashes XI, but the all-rounder still isn’t bowling and that series is rapidly approaching. By 2023, there’s a far better chance that Green has overcome his back problems and can genuinely fill an all-rounder spot. As for his batting, three Sheffield Shield tons before his 21st birthday has him being closely watched by national selectors. There’s plenty of water to go under the bridge, but we’re tipping the 20-year-old to be able to deliver in the 50-over game, too.
GLENN MAXWELL – 34
This side needs a finisher, and who better than Glenn Maxwell? We’ve got him down at No.7 but he could come in anywhere depending on the situation of the game. The 31-year-old strikes above 120 in ODI cricket and averages 32.32. What’s more is that only Aaron Finch and George Bailey have made more ODI runs for Australia in India in the past 10 years. His ability against spin on the low and slow decks of the subcontinent makes him a must for this XI. Importantly, he also gives it an extra spin option.
ASHTON AGAR – 29
It’s almost hard to believe Ashton Agar will only be 29 when this tournament comes around. It already feels like he’s been around forever. After a relatively quiet few years in and out of the green and gold, Agar has taken his game to a new level in 2020. He played all three away ODIs against India in January and had Australia’s second-best economy rate (5.60). Then in three T20s against South Africa the following month, he tore apart the Proteas and claimed a hat-trick on his way to eight wickets at 8.50. Should he keep it up, then he’s a no-brainer to partner Adam Zampa in 2023.
MITCHELL STARC – 33
This one is a bit touch-and-go. Mitchell Starc will be 33 which is typically very close to the end for most fast bowlers. We’re predicting, however, that selectors will excuse him from most white-ball duty after the T20 World Cup to give him every chance of playing in 2023. Australia will be desperate for him to, because Starc’s World Cup record is simply outstanding. Last year, he set a record for the most wickets in a single World Cup (27) which followed his haul of 22 in 2015, when Australia last won.
PAT CUMMINS — 29
Cummins will likely be given the same treatment as Starc in the coming years given his troubled history with injuries. Nonetheless, many of those appear to be in the past and Cummins will only be 30 at the next World Cup. Quite frankly, his selection shouldn’t need much further explaining. He’s one of the best multi-format quicks in the world, while only Starc has taken more ODI wickets for Australia in the past 12 months.
ADAM ZAMPA – 30
This could well be Adam Zampa’s career-defining moment. Last year’s World Cup was a challenge for the leg-spinner given the seam-friendly conditions in England, and he was dropped midway through. He’s come back stronger than ever from that disappointment, taking 10 ODI wickets – including Kohli’s twice – while only being hit for 4.97 runs an over. Previously criticised for his lack of mystery, Zampa’s wrong’un has come along in leaps and bounds, most recently bamboozling Kane Williamson at the SCG. The 27-year-old is getting better with age. A World Cup on the subcontinent in three years’ time feels like it could have Zampa’s name on it.