Smith & Warner make T20 returns as Australia eye World Cup
Melbourne, Oct 8: Australia stars Steve Smith and David Warner have returned to the Twenty20 fold for back-to-back three-game series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Smith and Warner have already made Test and ODI comebacks following their year-long ball-tampering bans, however, the duo are back in the T20 setup for the first time since the infamous saga.
Australia named their 14-man squad on Tuesday, with an eye on the ICC T20 World Cup, which the country will host in October next year.
While Smith and Warner headline a squad captained by Aaron Finch, Australia have axed all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and overlooked big-hitting batsmen Chris Lynn and D'Arcy Short for the series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which gets underway in Adelaide on October 27.
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins will lead Australia's pace attack that also includes Billy Stanlake, while leg-spinner Adam Zampa retains his place as star Nathan Lyon continues to battle an ankle problem following the Ashes.
"It is almost a year to the day until Australia hosts the men's Twenty20 World Cup and we have selected this squad with that in mind," national selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement.
"We have looked to put a squad together that we think can take us through to that tournament. The squad we have selected is quite role specific and we believe it gives us the flexibility to thrive in all match conditions."
BREAKING: Australia's T20I squad to take on Sri Lanka and Pakistan:— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) October 8, 2019
Aaron Finch (c)
Hohns added: "In terms of batsmen, we have selected top and middle-order specialists. The likes of Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner and Carey provide us excellent options through the middle-order after Finch, Warner and Smith.
"In terms of spinners, we feel like the all-round package Ashton Agar possesses is irresistible at the moment and Adam Zampa has proven to be a very good T20 bowler in all conditions.
"We're also confident in the potency and flexibility of our fast bowling group. Mitchell Starc gives us a left-arm option and has earned a reputation as one of the world's leading quicks at the top of the innings and at the death.
"Pat Cummins is a world-class right-arm option and has been in superb form of late. Andrew Tye is a wicket-taking proposition, Billy Stanlake has the X-factor and Kane Richardson has been an excellent short-form player for some time now."
Australia will face Sri Lanka on October 27, 30 and November 1 before meeting Pakistan on November 3, 5 and 8.
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Adam Zampa.