Tim Paine and Aaron Finch will share Australia’s limited-overs leadership duties in England this June, with wicketkeeper Alex Carey promoted to the Twenty20 vice-captaincy. Also, Nathan Lyon and favoured son Shaun Marsh have been recalled in the first squads to bear the selection fingerprints of the new coach Justin Langer.
In the absence of the suspended Steven Smith and David Warner, Paine has been elevated to the ODI captaincy 12 months out from the 2019 World Cup in England, as Langer seeks continuity and consistency of message in a team now searching for a fresh outlook and identity following the disastrous South Africa Test tour. The selection chairman Trevor Hohns made it clear this was a short-term choice, with options still open for the captaincy ahead of the global tournament.
At the same time, the selected ODI combination is intended to bring about a change in the team’s 50-over fortunes after an underwhelming 12 months in the format, with England looming not only as hosts but one of the hardest sides to beat in the World Cup, a tournament Australia won on home soil in 2015.
There was no room for Chris Lynn in either format. Lynn’s absence is believed to be due to ongoing shoulder problems that restrict him in the field, preventing him from diving and limiting his capacity to throw. A review with a specialist is scheduled on his return from the IPL, with Lynn’s future in Australian colours to be determined after that time.
Langer’s influence can be seen in the selection of no fewer than six members of the West Australian set-up in the ODI squad, including the powerful left-hander D’Arcy Short. Marsh’s recall at 34 gives him a chance to win a consistent ODI place ahead of the World Cup.
“Obviously, these are the conditions we will face during the tournament so now is a perfect chance to give these players an opportunity to press their case for selection,” Hohns said. “Tim is a strong leader and will captain the side for this series, supported by Aaron. A decision on a permanent one-day captain will be made in due course.
“D’Arcy is relatively new to one-day cricket but impressed us with his form in T20 cricket last season. He brings an all-round package to the side, with strong fielding and bowling skills, and we believe he will combine very well with Aaron at the top of the order.
“Nathan is our No. 1 offspinner and has excelled with the red ball, however he is not new to white-ball cricket and deserves his chance to push for World Cup selection. England potentially have a number of left-handers in their side and we look forward to seeing what he can produce with the white ball in English conditions.”
Carey was one of the brightest performers from the Big Bash League in 2017-18, finishing as the tournament’s second-highest run-scorer. He was awarded an Australia contract in April. His inclusion in both squads underlines his promise, with Hohns reckoning he may yet slot into the 50-overs team as a batsman alone. “Alex is a very smart one-day player who can also bat anywhere in the order,” he said. “With Tim in the side, Alex will be the back-up wicketkeeper, but we believe his game is strong enough to play as a batter only.”
The T20 players were selected for the one-off match in England, as well as the triangular series that follows in Zimbabwe. Nic Maddinson has earned a recall in this group, despite being without a state contract for the coming domestic season, while Jack Wildermuth and Mitchell Swepson have both been called up.
“The national selection panel holds Jack in high regard as young player on the rise,” T20 selector Mark Waugh said. “He has shown excellent all-round skills at the first-class level, particularly with the ball in the Big Bash. We look forward to seeing what he can produce at the international level.
“Mitchell provides the captain with good variety and wicket-taking options. He competes very well and deserves his chance at this level. Nic has been selected off the back of a very good Big Bash season. He is a very talented player and, with his batting skills, has the ability to be very dangerous in this format.”
Swepson and Lyon’s inclusions arrived at the expense of Adam Zampa, who is missing from both squads. “Adam hasn’t performed to the level we would have liked in recent times and we see this as a good opportunity for other spinning options to press their case ahead of the World Cup,” Hohns said.
Neither Pat Cummins nor Mitchell Starc were considered for selection as they recover from bone stress injuries suffered in South Africa. “Mitchell is going to undertake a prolonged rehabilitation period for his tibial bone stress injury and we are aiming for a return for the Pakistan Test series [at an away venue in October/November],” the team physio David Beakley said.
“Pat is still recovering from a lumbar bone stress injury. The good news is that it has not progressed to a fracture but he still requires a period of rehabilitation with an aim for him to return for the Pakistan Test series along with Starc.”
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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