Mitchell Marsh to captain T20Is against West Indies with Warner named

Mitchell Marsh is firming as Australia’s likely captain for the T20 World Cup after being named to take the reins for a three-match T20I series against West Indies.
The selectors are yet to confirm who will be Australia’s permanent T20I captain having not made a formal decision after Aaron Finch retired following the 2022 T20 World Cup. Australia have only played two T20I series since then with Marsh leading an inexperienced team to a 3-0 triumph in South Africa before Matthew Wade took charge of a depleted team in India after the ODI World Cup triumph.
Marsh will captain on home soil for the first time and will have a very strong squad to work with. Smith will rest from the T20I series after captaining the ODI team in the three-match series against West Indies in the week prior to the T20Is but has stated that he expects to be in the squad for the T20I series.

“I want to be a part of it, as anyone would, I suppose,” Smith said on Wednesday. “I’ve had a few opportunities to open and obviously did it well in the Big Bash. It’s different to international cricket, I know, but I haven’t had a huge opportunity there. I’d certainly be interested, but we’ll wait and see.”

Cummins and Starc are resting from all of the West Indies limited-overs matches after playing every home Test during the summer. Both are expected to play in the T20Is in New Zealand and two Test matches on the same tour but the selectors are mindful of their IPL workload thereafter ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Josh Hazlewood has been included in the T20I squad to face West Indies despite resting from the ODIs. Hazlewood does not have an IPL deal and the six matches against West Indies and New Zealand will be his only chance to play the format before the World Cup.

“We see these matches as an opportunity to narrow down on those who may be part of the T20 World Cup squad later this year,” Australia’s chairman of selectors George Bailey said. “There are a further three T20 internationals in New Zealand following this West Indies series where we will continue to build towards the T20 World Cup as required.

“It is likely we will use the block of six games to provide opportunity to players in some different roles and positions. We will then be keeping a close eye on the IPL before choosing a World Cup squad.”

Warner has been recalled from the ILT20 as was long forecast by the selectors. David will also leave the ILT20 early while Stoinis will leave the SA20 early having been left out of the ODI squad after discussions with the selectors. All three will be required back in Australia on February 7 with the first match of the series to be played in Hobart on February 9.

Glenn Maxwell, David, Stoinis and the two wicketkeeper-batters Wade and Josh Inglis will form the backbone of Australia’s middle-order at the World Cup. Matthew Short has also been included in the squad and has a chance to be part of the World Cup given his form and skillset as a powerful, flexible batting option and a part-time offspinner.

Travis Head is likely to open alongside Warner as they did in the ODI World Cup but Short could slot in at the top as well.

Australia have only named one spinner in Adam Zampa with Maxwell, Head and Short to provide spin overs as well. Australia look likely to go to the T20 World Cup with just one specialist spinner again after winning the 2021 T20 World Cup and the ODI World Cup last year with Zampa, Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood as the four specialist bowlers.

Sean Abbott, Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Ellis have been picked as the next three pacemen behind the big three and they appear to be vying for the last spot in Australia’s first-choice 15 for the World Cup.

Australia T20I squad versus West Indies: Mitchell Marsh (capt), Sean Abbott, Jason Behrendorff, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

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