Steven Smith is not available because of an elbow injury; Wes Agar earns first call-up
From the 29 names in the preliminary squad, D’Arcy Short, who is playing for Hampshire in the T20 Blast, and Cameron Green have not been included.
Jason Behrendorff, Moises Henriques, Riley Meredith, Andrew Tye and Adam Zampa, who were also at the IPL, have made themselves available for the tour. Tye and Zampa, along with Kane Richardson, left the tournament early before Australia’s borders shut to arrivals from India, which forced the remaining players to travel home after a stay in Maldives.
“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.”
Australia are boosted by the return of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood to the white-ball set-up after the two were among those unavailable for the T20I tour of New Zealand as they had been selected for the Test series in South Africa, which was subsequently postponed.
With Australia’s international borders likely to remain shut well into next year, the requirement to quarantine for two weeks after tours will continue to impact players for the foreseeable future.
“The pandemic is now into its second year and that has meant athletes and staff, particularly those who participate internationally, have spent lengthy periods in bio-secure hubs, where freedom of movement is restricted, and hard quarantine,” Alex Kountouris, Cricket Australia’s head of sports science and sports medicine, said. “We look forward to a time when hubs and quarantines are things of the past, but for now we will continue to manage the situation as best we can with the wellbeing of our people at the forefront of our decision-making.”
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (capt), 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
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo