New Delhi: Australia’s men’s squad for the February-March Twenty20 International series against New Zealand has been announced.
The 18-man squad will be captained by Aaron Finch, with Andrew McDonald stepping up as team coach in the absence of Justin Langer, who will be in South Africa for a three-Test series pencilled in for the same time.
Finch will be deputised by Matthew Wade, who has been left out of the 19-man Test squad to play South Africa. Despite the absence of cross format stars Steve Smith and David Warner, the batting order will not be short of fire power, with Finch, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis all included.
Australia will also have the services of two of the world’s top 10 T20I bowlers, with spinners Adam Zampa (fourth) and Ashton Agar (sixth) included alongside uncapped 19-year-old leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha.
Fast bowler Jhye Richardson will be hoping to play his first match for Australia in any format since March last year, and Jason Behrendorff his first since the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.
The series shapes as key preparation for Australia ahead of this year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in India.
“In a World Cup year, it’s exciting to select a squad that combines some of the biggest names in international T20 cricket with the best emerging players in the country,” Cricket Australia chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said. “We like the balance of this squad for what should be a thrilling series against the Black Caps.
“The batting line-up will be strengthened by the inclusion of Matt Wade, who joins fellow experienced internationals such as Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, D’Arcy Short and Ashton Turner.
“They will be complemented by some wonderful young talent in the form of Josh Philippe and Ben McDermott, both of whom have been in strong form this BBL campaign.
“We are fortunate to have some excellent all-rounders to choose from which is reflected in the selections of Mitch Marsh, Daniel Sams and Ashton Agar along with the likes of Maxwell and Stoinis.
“Adam Zampa has developed into one of the best spinners in international white ball cricket and we have been most impressed by Tanveer Sangha, who has been brilliant throughout the pathways and with the Sydney Thunder this season.
“We are similarly buoyant about our fast bowling stocks. Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith and Jason Behrendorff have all impressed during the BBL and Kane Richardson and Andrew Tye are proven performers on the international stage.”
Australia currently sit second on the ICC T20I rankings, one spot behind England and four ahead of New Zealand.
AUSTRALIA T20I SQUAD
Aaron Finch (c), Matthew Wade (vc), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa
T20I SERIES AGAINST NEW ZEALAND
Feb 22, 7pm at Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Feb 25, 2pm at University Oval, Dunedin
Mar 3, 7pm at Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington
Mar 5, 7pm at Eden Park, Auckland
Mar 7 2pm at Bay Oval, Mount Mauganui