SYDNEY: Singapore-born batting powerhouse Tim David was on Thursday called up by Australia for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup on home soil, the only change to the squad that won the tournament last year.

David’s stunning elevation comes at the expense of leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, with the 26-year-old earning his chance after a series of headline-grabbing individual performances across domestic cricket.

“Tim continues to establish himself with some quality performances in leagues around the world, earning a place in the squad,” said chairman of selectors George Bailey of the giant Western Australia-raised middle-order hitter.

“He is a highly gifted, natural ball striker who will add extra batting depth to the group which has had a lot of success in T20 cricket. “We expect him to play a similar role to that he has been playing in the past few years.”

Right-hander David play­ed 14 T20s for Singapore but is eligible to switch allegiance because he has Australian parents.

He burst into the spotlight in the Pakistan Super League last season and has become hot property as a finishing batsman in global leagues including the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash League.

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting is a big fan.

“He’s the sort of player that could actually win you a Wo­rld Cup,” Ponting said recently of David, who was signed by the Mumbai Indi­ans at the 2022 IPL auction.

“I know there are some other great world-quality players in the middle order for Australia, but probably none of them boasts the resume as good as Tim’s over the last two years.”

While Swepson was key at the last World Cup on the spinn­ing wickets in the Uni­ted Arab Emirates, helping Australia to their maiden title in an eight-wicket win over New Zealand in the final, David will be of more use in Australian batting conditions.

“We still really like Swepo’s skill set but it’s a different strategy,” explained skipper Aaron Finch on why he was axed. “The UAE World Cup last year was on the back of the IPL being played there and it was end-of-season wickets, tired wickets, we were expecting that spin would play a big part. Here we are very happy with the three spinners we have in the squad — Zamps, Agar and Maxi cover us really well.”

Test captain Pat Cummins returns to the 15-man squad after being rested for the current ODI series against Zimbabwe and next week’s against New Zealand, while Adam Zampa is back in the frame following the birth of his son.

The World Cup squad will travel to India for three T20 Internationals in September before returning home to play the West Indies and England leading into the World Cup.

Key batsman David War­ner will miss the Indian tour as part of a “managed period of preparation”, Cricket Aust­ralia said, while Cameron Green will join the squad for the Indian T20 Series.

The World Cup, which will be played across seven Australian venues, starts on October 16 with Australia beginning against New Zealand in Sydney on October 22.

Squad: Aaron Finch (captain), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Tim David, Josh Inglis, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Kane Richardson.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2022

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