They are part of a group of senior players – Cummins included – who are returning from injuries that kept them out of the South Africa series. Starc has been recovering from a groin injury sustained in the Ashes while Maxwell, who was already due to have paternity leave, left South Africa early with ankle soreness and will only join the squad on Friday.
“We want to strike the balance between getting used to these conditions, hopefully winning some games, but we also don’t want to get to that first game [of the World Cup] and already be cooked,” Cummins said. “No doubt we’ll be trying a few different combinations, a few different players will get a chance but ideally we’d like to structure up pretty closely to how we’ll play in the World Cup.
“So batters batting in similar positions, … and as a captain I want to get used to how you use your bowlers over here, it might be a bit different to say South Africa or Australia. Does the second spinner play a part? Hopefully we get some answers over the next few games.”
Building towards the World Cup, Australia have focused heavily on having a deep batting order, and it is a balance Cummins said would continue, although there could be an extra specialist bowler occasionally.
Marcus Stoinis has been used as a new-ball bowler while Cameron Green will be part of the top order. Sean Abbott, who split his webbing in Johannesburg, is another pace-bowling all-round option. Aaron Hardie is also available as cover for Abbott and Nathan Ellis.
“You need five bowlers, so the more allrounders you have you can really bolster your batting,” Cummins said. “It gives us flexibility to pick four genuine bowlers or maybe three bowlers and bat an allrounder at No. 8. Hopefully Maxi comes back later in the series, but the other three guys have been bowling fantastically.”