Illness rocks Aussie camp with Maxwell in doubt
Illness is complicating Australia's plans for their ODI series opener against Pakistan, with Glenn Maxwell unable to train on Wednesday.
Maxwell was a notable absentee from Australia's main session in Sharjah prior to Friday's five-match series opener at the same venue.
It came a day after Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon were both told to skip training. Lyon had been floored by the same bug that Maxwell is now struggling with, while Cummins was managed because of workload concerns.
Nathan Coulter-Nile backed Lyon and legspinner Adam Zampa to make a big impact on Friday.
"Spin will be important for both sides. We've got two spinners, I'd be surprised if they don't both play out here," Coulter-Nile said.
"They've got quality spinners as well. It will be a good battle."
Cummins is fully expected to be rested at some point during the series, which spans 10 days, but it's unclear when it will happen.
Any sort of setback for him would represent a doomsday scenario for Australia, especially with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood both recovering from injuries ahead of this year's World Cup and Ashes.
Cummins, arguably the most important player in Australia's World Cup defence, is yet to enjoy a break of substance since being rested from the home ODI series against India in January.
The return of Kane Richardson and Coulter-Nile, both absent from the side's past three ODIs against India, has given Australia more flexibility when it comes to resting Cummins.
Shaun Marsh's return, which coach Justin Langer flagged will come at some point in the UAE, is another potential change that could be made to the XI that defeated India in last week's series decider.
Winning the series against Pakistan is the short-term goal for selectors but settling on the 15-man World Cup squad is also at the forefront of their minds.
"It's a great place to be, everyone's playing well," Marsh said. "A lot of competition for spots. The most important thing is the team is playing well and we're winning games of cricket again."
Langer's message to the squad in recent months has been to not focus on World Cup selection but that'll become harder as the April 23 deadline edges closer. Selectors are expected to meet in early April to settle on the 15-man World Cup squad plus the national contract list, which is set to be headed by Cummins.
"It (the World Cup) is really close," legspinner Adam Zampa said. "Throughout my short career I've found it can change really quickly."
Zampa felt his and Australia's best performance in India was the Delhi decider, a positive sign given it was the most pressure-laden game on that tour.
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