Now that IPL is out of the way, focus shifts to the 2017 Champions Trophy, kicking off on June 1 at The Oval, where the hosts take on Bangladesh.
Australia have won the tournament twice and are one of the favourites to lift the trophy. Most Australian players were involved in the twoo-month-long IPL and have just few days to recuperate before they play their first warm-up game, against the Sri Lankans.
Steven Smith (captain), David Warner (vice-captain), Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa
Finch will join Warner at the top of the order, followed by Smith at number three. Stoinis and Henriques have been picked as the seam bowling all-rounders, with James Faulkner unable to find a place in the squad.
Stoinis and Henriques are batting all-rounders, who can send down a few overs, while Cummins and Hastings are the bowling all-rounders.
In the middle order, Head may be picked ahead of Lynn, as the former offers more stability.
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The bowling attack will be boosted by the return of Starc, who is by far the best limited-overs bowler in the world and very hard to negotiate in any condition.
Australia also have Hazelwood, Cummins and Pattinson in the squad, making for a very pacy foursome, with Zampa picked as the lone spinner.
Though the pace attack is potent, if we look at the batting line up, except for Smith and possibly Head, there is a sameness. If Australia do lose quick wickets, the team does not have any grafters to post a competitive total.
Australia will rely a lot on Smith, Head and Wade to grind out the difficult overs. The absence of players like George Bailey and Shaun Marsh might hurt if things get tough at the top of the order.
It will also be interesting to see if Australia play all their pacers, using Maxwell as a part-time spinner. Really, Australia should play Zampa, as he provides the x-factor with the ball which Australia needs during the middle overs to mix things up.
If they do go with Zampa, they would have to choose between Cummins and Pattinson, with Cummins’ recent form giving him the edge.
Australia’s probable XI in their first game against New Zealand
David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steven Smith (C), Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mathew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood, Adam Zampa
This is a well-balanced side, with three pace bowlers, one leg spinner, one medium-pace all-rounder, and one part-time spinner. Starc and Cummins can bat a bit too lower down the order.