SYDNEY: Australia on Monday named a powerful 17-man squad for the three-match T20 international series against India this month, with an eye to the upcoming World T20.
However, Test captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner will play only in the opening match in Adelaide on January 26 before sitting out the other games to prepare for the first ODI against New Zealand in Auckland on February 3.
“Our choice of 17 for the KFC T20s gives us a chance to look at some options ahead of the ICC World T20 in India,” said national selector Rod Marsh.
The tournament starts March 8 with the April 3 final in Kolkata.
Australia have opted for experience and form for the India series, picking the stars of the Big Bash league with big-hitting Aaron Finch as captain.
“Shane Watson has earned his recall to Australian colours through a combination of his experience, especially in short-form cricket, the all-round package he offers and the fact he is bang in form at the moment, having put performances on the board for the Sydney Thunder,” said Marsh.
“Shaun Tait returns on the basis that he is the quickest bowler going around in Australia at the moment and he offers us that explosive option if we choose to use it.
“Chris Lynn, Travis Head and Andrew Tye have made irresistible cases for inclusion off the back of individual excellence in the KFC BBL and we are delighted to offer them the opportunity to push their claims for inclusion in the ICC World T20,” Marsh added.
“In terms of leg-spin, Cameron Boyce has once again impressed in domestic action and deserves his spot.”
The selectors said they regretted not being able to find places for George Bailey and Mitchell Marsh but noted that the door remains open to the World T20 squad.
“We know what both those players are capable of, and both have significant experience of playing T20 cricket in India,” Marsh said
“But we want them to continue to press their cases for inclusion while we take this opportunity to look at other contenders.”
The second T20 takes place in Melbourne on January 29 while the final game will be in Sydney on January 31.
Squad: Aaron Finch (capt), Scott Boland, Cameron Boyce, James Faulkner, John Hastings, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Shaun Tait, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson.