Australia have named a 13-member squad for the upcoming Twenty20 Internationals against South Africa and India without the experienced trio of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Marsh and Nathan Lyon.
Peter Siddle, who was named as cover for Starc in the recent overseas T20I series against Pakistan, has also been omitted. Other frontline Test bowlers such as Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins continue to be left out too, despite being fit.
“We have to get the balance right between playing our best T20 team and preparing for the upcoming Test series,” said Justin Langer, the coach.
“While I know all four (Starc, Siddle, Lyon and Marsh) have a desire to be playing cricket for Australia in every format, with a really tough Test series against India coming up, we believe their best preparation is to go back and get some really good cricket under their belts in the Sheffield Shield.”
Meanwhile, left-arm quick Jason Behrendorff and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis have been added to the squad. Behrendorff impressed selectors with his match-winning spell of 3/35 in a warm-up against South Africa for the Australian Prime Minister's XI the other day.
“It gave us more evidence of how devastating he can be with the new ball,” Langer said of the paceman. “Tactically we believe it’s important to have a good left-arm swing bowler at our disposal for the four matches.”
Stoinis has a respectable T20 record, and his spell of 3/16 against South Africa in the first one-day international might have convinced selectors to recall him.
“Marcus missed our recent T20 matches in the UAE because he hadn’t resumed bowling, but now he’s back to full fitness he’ll add great depth to the squad,” Langer explained.
“Marcus is such a versatile player, he’s a powerful middle-order batsman and he provides us with another solid bowling option.”
The Aaron Finch-led squad will look to put an end to Australia's T20I woes – in the series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, they were clean-swept 3-0. Playing at home, Australia will want to reverse their fortunes.
The one-off T20I against South Africa is slated for Saturday, 17 November at Queensland's Carrara Oval. The three-match series against India will commence on 21 November in Brisbane.
Squad: Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa