David Warner and Mitch Marsh headline the notable omissions in Australia’s 16-man squad for a Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka, while coach Justin Langer will also be absent.
Australia are hosting Sri Lanka in a five-match T20 series, with the games to be spread across the SCG, Manuka Oval and MCG on February 11-20.
There were fears that selectors could be forced to pick separate squads for those white-ball games and the ensuing three-Test series in Pakistan, which starts on March 3.
That has not transpired, although Langer is among the members of support staff set to be on leave during the T20 series.
Andrew McDonald will serve as head coach in Langer’s absence, as was the case during last year’s T20 tour of New Zealand
Warner and Marsh, who both played key roles in Australia’s T20 World Cup triumph in the UAE, will also sit out the five T20s ahead of the trip to Pakistan.
Legspinner Mitchell Swepson, who is poised to make his Test debut in Pakistan, is the other member of Australia’s T20 World Cup squad that was omitted from the squad named on Tuesday.
Fit-again paceman Josh Hazlewood is poised to return from his side strain during the T20 series, while Travis Head’s impressive red-ball form has resulted in a T20 call-up.
BBL player of the tournament Ben McDermott, Sydney Sixers captain Moises Henriques, and paceman Jhye Richardson have also been named in the T20 squad.
“This squad will begin preparation for the ICC T20 World Cup defence at home later this year and includes several players who have an early chance to impress,” chairman of selectors George Bailey said.
“David Warner and Mitch Marsh will miss the campaign to prepare for the Pakistan tour.
“Justin Langer and a number of other core support staff will take planned leave in preparation for the Pakistan tour.”
Cricket Australia (CA) is expected to make a call on the future of Langer in coming weeks.
Langer’s current contract expires soon after the tour of Pakistan.
ead is set to be given a chance to become a three-format threat for Australia, with selectors confident his red-hot Ashes form can extend into next month’s Twenty20 series.
Head, who hasn’t played a white-ball match for Australia since 2018, was the most notable inclusion.
The left-hander first made his name as a swashbuckling batter, memorably celebrating New Year’s Eve in 2015 with an unbeaten century in 53 balls for BBL side Adelaide Strikers.
Head was rewarded with one-day and T20 debuts for Australia in the ensuing six months, only to fall out of favour long before the ODI World Cup in 2019.
Chairman of selectors George Bailey believes the time is right for Head, fresh from player-of-the-series honours in Australia’s dominant Ashes, to be given another chance in limited-overs cricket.
“It’s one of those conundrums that a number of players face, when they do get a bit of a run in one format or the other. Be that domestically or for the national side,” Bailey said.
“It quite often comes at the expense of another format.
“But Trav is a very talented cricketer across all three formats.
“He’s a quality striker of the ball.
“We’re just looking to get him involved in as much of the white-ball stuff as we can.”
Australia will host the T20 World Cup in October, while they will travel to India for the next ODI World Cup in 2023.
“He provides a little bit of flexibility,” Bailey said of Head.
“Obviously there’s not going to be a huge amount of change from that World Cup crew we had last year.
“But what we are after are really specific replacements and (providing) opportunities for guys, should the need arise to use them in the lead up to October.”
Australia’s 16-man T20 squad: Aaron Finch (capt), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Josh Inglis, Ben McDermott, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.