SYDNEY: Australia have dramatically reshaped their one-day squad for the three-match series against India with just six players retained from those that faced South Africa earlier in the season.
This is partly due to the three main quicks – Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins – being rested with an eye on their workload, but there have also been significant changes to the batting line-up with Travis Head, Chris Lynn, D’Arcy Short and Ben McDermott all omitted.
Ashton Agar has also been dropped with Nathan Lyon given a chance to compete for the spin-bowling role alongside Adam Zampa at the start of the World Cup year, while Nathan Coulter-Nile has been left out after experiencing some lower back pain.
There were one-day recalls for Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Marsh, who was dropped for the final Test against India, Peter Siddle, who played the last of his 17 ODIs in 2010 having impressed in the BBL over the last couple of seasons, alongside Western Australia pair Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson.
“After a disappointing period in ODI cricket, the National Selection Panel along with team coaches have reviewed our performances across this format and we’ve identified a number of key areas that we feel we need to improve in order to help put this team in the best possible position to turn this period around,” national selector Trevor Hohns said.
“With this in mind and the World Cup looming, we’ve selected players we feel provide us with the flexibility to play a variety of roles at different stages of a match. With a focus on improving our ability to post competitive totals we’ve recalled Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb and Mitch Marsh to the squad.
“Usman is a batsman we know can put vital runs on the board at the top of the order, and Peter is not only a fine player of spin bowling, he’s also a batsman we know can hold an innings together while keeping the scoreboard ticking over. Mitch gives us another all-round option with his ability with both bat and ball.”
“Travis Head, D’Arcy Short and Chris Lynn have been unlucky to miss out. All three have had opportunities to cement their spots, but unfortunately, they have not been as productive as we would have liked in recent times when playing ODI cricket for Australia.”
Hohns confirmed the decision to rest Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins was with a view to the two Sri Lanka Tests which follow the India ODIs. He also singled out Siddle’s “leadership qualities” and picked out Behrendorff as a like-for-like swap with Starc.
“It’s wonderful to have Peter [Siddle] back in the squad for the first time since 2010. His white ball cricket has improved considerably the older he has got, and his selection is great reward for his professionalism and strong leadership qualities. We have rewarded both Jhye and Jason as they continue to put up strong performances with the white ball. Jason provides us with a left arm option in the absence of Mitchell Starc and is very capable of taking wickets early in the innings.
“Nathan [Lyon] is the best offspin bowler in the world and we’ve noted how successful teams around the world have been using a two pronged spin attack in the right conditions in white ball cricket, something we are very mindful of heading to the World Cup.”
SQUAD: Aaron Finch (capt), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa.