Aussie selectors decide to play for keeps
Australia's selectors believe we can win the World T20 championship in India for the first time next month with a squad containing just four specialist bats
men and two rookie spinners.
One of those batsmen, former skipper Aaron Finch, is racing the clock to be fit after aggravating a hamstring injury against India on January 29.
Finch has been stripped of the captaincy, with Test and one-day skipper Steve Smith to lead his country across all three formats.
The other two specialist batsmen chosen were David Warner and Usman Khawaja.
Former captain George Bailey, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head and Brisbane Heat skipper Chris Lynn were all overlooked as selectors opted for batting all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Shane Watson.
Queensland leg-spin bowler Cameron Boyce has been a regular in Australia's T20 side in the past year, but was left out despite taking 11 Big Bash wickets for Hobart and 2-28 against India in a thrilling final-ball T20 loss in Sydney on January 31.
His place was taken by fellow leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who is uncapped at international T20 level.
Test tweaker Nathan Lyon was also left out, with left-arm orthodox bowler Ashton Agar, also yet to make his T20 debut for his country, included in the 15-man squad.
The other surprise selection was the inclusion of Test keeper Peter Nevill at the expense of Matthew Wade.
Nevill has not played white-ball cricket for Australia, and had a top-score of just 21, with a modest strike rate, in three BBL games for the Melbourne Renegades.
Wade has had plenty of detractors thanks to his below-par keeping skills and inconsistent batting, national selection chairman Rod Marsh saying Nevill's keeping had won him the nod.
"We feel our batting depth in this squad is sufficient enough that we can have a specialist wicket-keeper in the squad," Marsh said.
"We want Australia's best wicket-keeper playing in this tournament, and we consider Peter Nevill to be the best in the country right now."
Apart from Finch, fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile (shoulder) and bowling all-rounder James Faulkner (hamstring) were chosen despite recent injuries.
Genuine all-rounder Mitch Marsh was also included, selectors opting for Maxwell, Watson, Faulkner and Marsh instead of a fifth specialist batsman.
Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill, Andrew Tye, Shane Watson, Adam Zampa.