Allan Border medallist Mitch Marsh captaining Australia in the T20 World Cup looks a certainty after he was named in charged of a full-strength 15-man squad set to take on New Zealand.
But despite calls for him to be fast-tracked in to the national side, left-arm quick Spencer Johnson, the player of the final in the Big Bash, has been left out, and will instead be on standby with the frontline fast bowlers returning including Mitchell Starc.
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Even with Pat Cummins also returning for the three matches, Marsh, who was an emotional winner of the top individual award in Australian cricket least week, remains in charge.
It’s a clear indication selectors see Marsh, who captained Australia’s ODI and T20 teams in 2023 at various stages, is the man to take the side through the tournament in the West Indies and USA.
Among the other surprise inclusions, Australia’s T20 player of the year in 2023, Jason Behrendroff and one-day World Cup winner Sean Abbott, man-of-the match in Australia’s ODI win in Sydney last weekend, have both overlooked.
Instead injured paceman Nathan Ellis, who remains under an cloud for the three-match series against the West Indies which begins on Friday, was named.
Johnson has been named as next man in for the upcoming series, should Ellis not be fit.
Matt Short, who has been pulled from the squad for the Windies ODIs after his hamstring injury on Sunday, has been included for the series against the Kiwis.
He’ll be monitored over the next few weeks, with Aaron Hardie replacing him in the squad for the series against the West Indies.
Nathan Ellis is nearing a full recovery from a rib injury which is subject to further testing this week. Spencer Johnson, who has joined the ODI squad in Canberra, is on standby for the West Indies series should Ellis need more time leading into New Zealand.
Travis Head wasn’t part of Australia’s squad that won the 2021 T20 World Cup. He’ll battle it out with Steve Smith and Matt Short for the chance to open the batting with David Warner at this year’s World Cup.
“Travis, Pat, Mitchell and Steve rejoin the squad following the series against the West Indies with Jason Behrendorff and Sean Abbott among the standby players from those playing the upcoming T20s,” national selection chair George Bailey said.
“The next six games will provide us the opportunity to start shaping what we think our World Cup squad will look like and potential roles within that.
“We will also fully use the opportunity to monitor and watch the performances of the Australian players in the IPL immediately preceding the World Cup.”
Despite calls from World Cup wining captain Aaron Finch for batting dynamo Jake Fraser-McGurk to be on the selections radar for the tournament, he also missed out.
AUSTRALIAN SQUAD FOR T20S IN NEW ZEALAND
Mitchell Marsh (c) Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc,
Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.