Australia’s T20 international squad, for three T20Is against Sri Lanka starting 27 October and then three more T20Is against Pakistan starting 3 November (i.e. 6 matches in total) has been announced, with just 14 players being named:
Aaron Finch (capt)
Alex Carey (wk)
My first thought is where are the batsmen? While we have a solid top 5, then we get into Turner, Carey and Agar, and then some serious lack of batting. While Cummins and Starc can hit it, in T20Is they aren’t usually of much use with their lower-order hitting, and then Tye, Zampa, Richardson and Stanlake are all pretty much bunnies.
Marcus Stoinis is a notable batsman missing, but he is not the only one that the selectors chose to leave out, with big-hitting T20 specialist Chris Lynn ignored, along with D’Arcy Short, who was not long ago in the top 10 in the world in the T20 international rankings.
Warner, Finch and Maxwell are obvious picks, and, in the form he is in, Ben McDermott definitely warrants being given a go. It’s not even a bad choice to go with Steve Smith, even though he is considerably better in the longer formats, given the ridiculous kind of form he is in, and the hope that it can translate to the shortest of the three formats. The bowlers aren’t bad picks either, the biggest problem being that there are just too many of them.
If we were to pick an XI out of these 14, it looks like we should be leaving out 3 bowlers, and this is where the problem lies: because it’s unbalanced. There should be the flexibility so that, if one of the batsmen is out of form, then he can be let go too, or even if we want to go in a different direction. For example, if Lynn, Short and Stoinis were there, and perhaps Turner, Agar and Smith were not, then we could decide which one we wanted on any given day.
But Ashton Turner did have that big outing against India just before the World Cup, albeit in an ODI, and Ashton Agar has been decent of late too. Perhaps Agar can be considered a batsman (is he playing as a batsman?)
It looks to me more like an experimental line-up, one aimed not at winning this series so much as trying to win next year’s T20 World Cup, the first time ever that Australia will be the host.