• Pacer Josh Hazlewood and dashing opener Ben McDermott recalled to the squad
Cricket Australia (CA) said yesterday opener David Warner and all-rounder Mitch Marsh will be rested for the five-match Twenty20 International series against Sri Lanka next month to prepare for the upcoming tour of Pakistan.
With Warner rested, young Ben McDermott has been recalled to stake a claim at the top of the order after his impressive Big Bash League form in the last six weeks.
The 16-man squad announced yesterday includes five players - Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood - from the recent Test team that demolished England 4-0 in the Ashes series.
Pacer Hazlewood returns after missing the final four Ashes Tests with a side strain.
“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,” CA said in a statement.
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 World Cup winning opener Warner sitting out the series to prepare for Australia’s upcoming tour of Pakistan, Australian media said.
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 11-season history.
ICC Men’s T20 World Cup hero 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.
“I don’t think that I wasn’t ready to play for Australia (before), but I do feel ready now,” McDermott said yesterday. “I feel like I’m at the top of my game.
“I’ve developed a lot of learnings through those experiences. They haven’t been good ones, I won’t shy away from that, but I’ve definitely learned from those experiences and hopefully I come back well.”
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.
World Cup winner 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. The series against Sri Lanka will be played from Feb 11-20.
Australia will then play three Tests, three One-Day Internationals and a T20 International in Pakistan starting on March 3.
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
T20 Series vs Sri Lanka 2022
February 11: First T20, SCG
February 13: Second T20, SCG
February 15: Third T20, Manuka Oval
February 18: Fourth T20, MCG
February 20: Fifth T20, MCG
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