Key players return for Australia ahead of T20 World Cup as captain call remains unclear
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Australia have amped up their preparations for this year's ICC Men's T20 World Cup by recalling a host of key players for this month's T20I series against New Zealand.
The three-match series will be the final bilateral series ahead of June's 20-over World Cup in the USA and the Caribbean and Australia have recalled a quartet of experienced players for the battle against their trans-Tasman rival.
Fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc return to the 15-player squad that was named on Tuesday, while ICC Men's Cricket World Cup hero Travis Head and fellow batter Steve Smith are also included.
All-rounder Mitch Marsh will captain the side despite the inclusion of Cummins, with the Aussies to make a call on who will skipper their team at the T20 World Cup at the conclusion of the New Zealand series.
With three matches on home soil against the West Indies upcoming and a further trio of games in New Zealand, chief selector George Bailey knows the time is right to start planning what his squad will look like at the T20 World Cup.
“Travis, Pat, Mitchell and Steve rejoin the squad following the series against the West Indies with Jason Behrendorff and Sean Abbott amongst the standby players from those playing the upcoming T20s," Bailey said.
“The next six games will provide us the opportunity to start shaping what we think our World Cup squad will look like and potential roles within that.
“We will also fully utilise the opportunity to monitor and watch the performances of the Australian players in the IPL immediately preceding the World Cup.”
Australia squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
First T20I: February 21, Wellington
Second T20I: February 23, Auckland
Third T20I: February 25, Auckland
First Test: February 29 - March 4, Wellington
Second Test: March 8 - 12, Christchurch