On Tuesday, Australia announced their 14-man squad for the next two T20 series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Australian Cricket Board says that these teams have been selected keeping in mind the ICC T20 World Cup to be held at home ground next year. Steve Smith, who was the ‘Player of the Series’ during the Ashes series, is back in the team. They will play T20 matches after almost three and a half years. He played the last T20 match against India in Mohali in March 2016.
Apart from Smith, opener David Warner and left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc have also been included in the squad, while opener Usman Khawaja has been dropped. Aaron Finch has been given the captaincy of the team, while wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey and Pat Cummins have been appointed as vice-captains.
Regarding team selection, national selector Trevor Horns said, “There is only about a year left when Australia have to host the T20 World Cup.” We have chosen this team keeping that World Cup in mind. He said, ‘We wanted to create a team, seeing that we feel that we can go to the tournament with it. The role of the team we have chosen is quite clear and we are confident that it has the ability to thrill in all match situations.”
Horns told that for batting we have selected top and middle order specialists. After Finch, Warner and Smith, we got great options in the middle order as Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermutt, Ashton Turner and Carey.
Marcus Stoinis, Shaun Marsh, Darcy Short, Richardson, Peter Handscomb, Nathan Coulter Nile and Nathan Lyon, who played the T20 series against India earlier this year, have been dropped from the squad. Stoinis performed poorly in the World Cup played in England and was able to score only 87 runs.
While many non-performing players have been dropped from the squad, many players who have performed brilliantly in the home series, such as Billy Stanlake, Ben McDermott and Kane Richardson, have been rejoined.
The three-match T20 series between Australia and Sri Lanka will be played on 27 October, 30 October and 1 November. At the same time, the three-match T20 series against Pakistan will start from November 3, which will run till November 8.
SQUAD: Aaron Finch (captain), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (vice-captain), Pat Cummins (vice-captain), Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner and Adam Zampa.
*THIS SAME SQUAD WILL PLAY AGAINST BOTH SRI LANKA AND PAKISTAN