With an eye on the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup at home next year, Australia have announced a 14-man T20 squad to face Sri Lanka and Pakistan across six games this year.
Steve Smith and David Warner completed their return from the wilderness Tuesday when Australia recalled them to a 14-man T20 squad to play Sri Lanka and Pakistan with a firm eye on next year’s World Cup.
Steve Smith will play his first T20 international in more than three-and-a-half years later this month after being picked in Australia’s T20 squad for back-to-back three-game series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Smith has been joined by fellow Ashes squad members David Warner, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc in Australia’s 14-man squad for the twin series, which begin on October 27 in Adelaide.
Warner last played a T20 international in February 2018, when he captained a side that won a series in New Zealand before he jetted off to the ill-fated South African tour. Smith last played a T20 international in Mohali in March 2016, when Australia were knocked out of that year’s World T20 tournament.
“We are delighted to welcome Steve Smith and David Warner back into the T20 international fold,” chief selector Trevor Hohns said.
“Steve is a world-class batsman in all formats, while Warner is Australia’s highest ever T20I runs scorer. He was also the leading runs scorer at this year’s Indian Premier League with Sunrisers Hyderabad.”
The T20 squad named Tuesday will face Sri Lanka and Pakistan in coming weeks but Hohns said the focus was firmly on next year’s World Cup, which will be held in Australia.
“It is almost a year to the day until Australia hosts the men’s T20 World Cup and we have selected this squad with that in mind,” he said.
“We have looked to put a squad together that we think can take us through to that tournament.”
Despite their success in other formats, Australia have never won a T20 World Cup, with an appearance in the 2010 final their best showing. They are currently ranked fifth in the world but will be desperate to succeed on home soil in October-November next year.
Aaron Finch retains the skipper’s armband, with wicketkeeper Alex Carey and paceman Pat Cummins sharing vice-captain duties. Ashton Turner returns from a finger injury to bolster the batting, while Adam Zampa edged out Nathan Lyon as the preferred spinner.
While many players have been left out, impressive domestic performers like Billy Stanlake, Ben McDermott and Kane Richardson have been brought back in the squad.
McDermott, meanwhile, has impressed with the bat for Tasmania, and recently smashed an unbeaten century against South Australia in Perth.
Cummins and Mitchell Starc will likely open the bowling attack, backed up by Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson and Billy Stanlake.
The three-match series against Sri Lanka will begin in Adelaide on October 27, followed by another three T20s against Pakistan opening on November 3 in Sydney.
1. Aaron Finch (c), 2. Ashton Agar, 3. Alex Carey, 4. Pat Cummins, 5. Glenn Maxwell, 6. Ben McDermott, 7. Kane Richardson, 8. Steve Smith, 9. Billy Stanlake, 10. Mitchell Starc, 11. Ashton Turner, 12. Andrew Tye, 13. David Warner, 14. Adam Zampa
Gillette T20 Internationals v Sri Lanka
First T20: October 27, Adelaide Oval
Second T20: October 30, Gabba,
Third T20: November 1, MCG
Gillette T20 Internationals v Pakistan
First T20: November 3, SCG
Second T20: November 5, Manuka Oval
Third T20: November 8, Perth Stadium