Warner, Cummins among seven big stars to opt out of Australia's tour of West Indies, Bangladesh
Cricket Australia on Wednesday announced an 18-member squad that will travel to Bangladesh and West Indies to play limited-overs legs. However, seven major stars have opted out of these tours which plan on serving as decent practice ahead of the T20 World Cup. The players to have withdrawn are Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Jyhe Richardson and Kane Richardson.
While Smith pulled out due to an elbow injury, the other six 'requested not to be considered for the tour for various reasons'. This would mean that Justin Langer would be without six of his biggest stars as Australia build towards the T20 World Cup scheduled later this year.
"We are naturally disappointed not to have all players available for the Australian team at this time, however the NSP [national selection panel] respects the decisions of those who have opted out of this tour," national selector Trevor Hohns said. "Steve Smith was unavailable for selection due to an elbow injury and will now be able to use this time to fully recover ahead of the World Cup and home Ashes series. Steve was disappointed to miss the tour with the decision made on medical grounds.
"International tours in the time of Covid-19 undoubtedly present many additional challenges for athletes. They also present opportunities for others and, in this case, the chance to push for selection in the Australian men's T20 World Cup squad later this year and beyond. This is a great chance for these players to make a case for the World Cup and all are considered very real prospects of making that tournament by performing well across these tours."
The likes of Kane and Jyhe Richardson and Marcus Stoinis are believed to have pulled out for a series of personal reasons, after they had returned home playing the IPL, which followed strict isolation protocols before the tournament was halted. Daniel Sams, who had in fact contracted the Covid, had pulled out a month earlier. None the less, the pulling out of some of these players meant that Wes Agar earned his maiden call-up, while Tasmania's Nathan Ellis and leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha have been added as reserves.
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (Captain), Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Riley Meredith, Ben McDermott, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa