Australia’s road to the T20 World Cup begins with back-to-back three-match home series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan
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.
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Adam Zampa
Australia axed allrounder Marcus Stoinis and overlooked big-hitting batsmen Chris Lynn – who was instead named in the Prime Minister’s XI – and D’Arcy Short, while spinner Nathan Lyon was unable to force his way into the shortest format, with Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa preferred by selectors.
Towering Queenslander Billy Stanlake has returned with selectors keeping one eye firmly on next year’s T20 World Cup, that will be played in Australia.
“It is almost a year to the day until Australia hosts the men’s Twenty20 World Cup and we have selected this squad with that in mind,” National Selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement.
“We have looked to put a squad together that we think can take us through to that tournament.
“The squad we have selected is quite role specific and we believe it gives us the flexibility to thrive in all match conditions.
Wicketkeeper Alex Carey and Cummins will share the vice-captaincy behind skipper Aaron Finch, while the series sees a return to Australia’s T20 squad for Warner and Smith – who is expected to bat at No.3 behind the openers.
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.
“In terms of batsmen, we have selected top and middle-order specialists. The likes of Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner and Carey provide us excellent options through the middle-order after Finch, Warner and Smith,” said Hohns.