Aussie world T20 squad set to get quick fix
The likely return of quick bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Coulter-Nile could give the Australian T20 squad a much-needed boost, with the party of 15 for the world championship in India to be named today.
Australia, which was hammered recently by the Indian batsmen in a 3-0 series defeat, will play three T20s in South Africa early next month, before heading to India with its tournament opener on March 18.
That morale took a further blow with a 55-run loss to New Zealand in Hamilton yesterday, losing the Chappell-Hadlee one-day series 2-1.
A controversial caught and bowled which dismissed Aussie all-rounder Mitch Marsh was the main talking point, in star Kiwi batsman Brendon McCullum's last one-day international.
Hazlewood was rested from the matches against India and has not played T20 cricket at either domestic or international level in more than two years.
But he would be a welcome inclusion to a pace attack which suffered another injury blow, when Kane Richardson was sent home from the current tour of New Zealand with a back complaint.
Hazlewood had a stellar 2015 and bowled well at the death in the one-dayers against the Black Caps.
Coulter-Nile, who's been out of action since injuring his shoulder playing for the Scorchers in December, could be another addition.
There are reports he may make his return in Perth club cricket this weekend, ahead of a possible comeback for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield.
Victorian paceman John Hastings is likely to be picked in the World T20 squad after a consistent summer with the ball, including 2-42 against New Zealand in Hamilton yesterday.
In terms of the spinning positions - so important in India - off-spinner Nathan Lyon appears likely to be picked. With Glenn Maxwell as a spinning all-rounder, it will be a battle between leggies Adam Zampa and Cameron Boyce for the remaining spot.
The selectors appear set to leave a spot for injured skipper Aaron Finch (hamstring), alongside David Warner, Smith, Usman Khawaja and, possibly, Shaun Marsh.
Possible Australia T20 squad: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, James Faulkner, Matthew Wade, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, John Hastings, Nathan Coulter-Nile.