McDermott runs rewarded as Australia names T20I squad

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After a barnstorming domestic T20 campaign, Ben McDermott enters Australia's T20I squad, as they prepare for a home World Cup defence.

Hosting Sri Lanka for five T20Is from February 11 in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, McDermott could well play a key role in the five matches, with fellow opener David Warner sitting out the series to prepare for Australia's upcoming tour of Pakistan.

McDermott leads the Big Bash League run list with 577 runs at a strike rate of 153.86, including five scores of over fifty.

McDermott's two centuries in the tournament also came in back-to-back innings - the first player to achieve the feat in the tournament's eleven-season history.

ICC Men's T20 World Cup hero Mitchell Marsh will also sit out the home series, while Andrew McDonald will act as interim head coach with Justin Langer taking planned leave ahead of the Pakistan tour.

Jhye Richardson, Travis Head and Moises Henriques re-enter the squad after missing out on World Cup selection, and Josh Hazlewood, who missed much of the men's Ashes series through a side strain, has also been selected.

World Cup squad Mitchell Swepson, as well as tournament reserves Daniel Sams and Daniel Christian, have also missed out, while fellow reserve Nathan Ellis, who claimed a hat-trick on international debut against Bangladesh, misses the series through injury.

With another T20 World Cup around the corner, Chairman of Selectors George Bailey stresses that the matches play a key role in early tournament preparation.

“This squad will begin preparation for the ICC T20 World Cup defence at home later this year, and includes several players who have an early chance to impress in these five matches against a quality opposition.”

McDermott made his T20I debut against UAE back in 2018, though has not made the most of his early opportunities, making 164 runs in 15 innings at a strike rate of 88. McDermott was one of several players to struggle with the bat during the away T20I series of Bangladesh, though his imperious and intimidating form with the bat during the Australian domestic summer demanded his recall.

Matthew Wade will keep for the Australians during the series, though McDermott and fellow squad member Josh Inglis can take the gloves if required.

Australia will have the chance to defend their ICC Men's T20 World Cup crown at home in October.

Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Josh Inglis, Ben McDermott, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa

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