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Smith, Warner, Cummins return for Australia at T20 World Cup

The 15-man Australia squad announced Thursday contains a balance of seam and spin bowling options and some aggressive shotmakers.
File image of Steve Smith.(REUTERS)
Published on Aug 19, 2021 07:06 AM IST
AP |

Australia is set to be at full strength for the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup with the return of seven front-line players including Steve Smith, David Warner and Pat Cummins when the tournament starts in October.

The 15-man Australia squad announced Thursday contains a balance of seam and spin bowling options and some aggressive shotmakers.

Josh Inglis was the only uncapped player picked in the squad, and will be backup to veteran wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.

Australia has dominated the World Cup in the 50-over format, winning five titles and finishing runner-up twice across 12 editions, but has never won the World T20 title.

Recent form in the T20 format has been poor, including a series loss in Bangladesh this month.

But the return of allrounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, pace bowlers Cummins and Kane Richardson, and top-order batters Warner and Smith should add more firepower to the lineup.

Aaron Finch, Australia's T20 captain, missed the Bangladesh series to have knee surgery but is expected to recover in time for the world tournament which is being staged in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

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“We are confident this squad has the ability to take the side deep into what will be an extremely competitive tournament," Australia's chief selector George Bailey said. “We have some of the best players in the world in their respective roles combined with the collective experience to succeed against the very best T20 sides in the world.”

The Australian players with IPL contracts are likely to participate in the second half of the Indian Premier League in the UAE immediately before the world tournament.

Bailey said Inglis had been on the selection radar for a while.

“He offers the squad flexibility in the batting order with his adaptability, counterattacking ability and power striking," Bailey said. "He is a player we are excited about for the future.”

Mitchell Swepson will join spinners Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa and Maxwell as Australia bids to bolster its stock of slower bowlers, who will play an important role in the conditions.

Josh Hazlewood will join Mitchell Starc, Cummins and Richardson in the pace ranks.

The T20 World Cup will feature 16 teams and run from Oct. 17-Nov. 14. The eight lower-ranked teams will playoff for four places in the Super 12 round. Australia's first match is on Oct. 23 against South Africa in the Super 12s. Australia and South Africa are in the same group as England and two-time T20 world champion West Indies.

Squad:

Aaron Finch (captain), Pat Cummins (vice-captain), Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

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