Uncapped Lynn, Stanlake in Australia ODI squad
Uncapped fast bowler Billy Stanlake and batsman Chris Lynn have been included in Australia's squad for five ODIs against Pakistan, while experienced batsmen George Bailey and Aaron Finch have been axed. Usman Khawaja has been included, having not been part of the squad for the Chappell-Hadlee Series last month.
The demoting of Finch and Bailey marks a significant selection shift for Australia: both men are currently in the top 20 on the ICC's ODI batting rankings, an indication of their performances over a long period of time. In fact, in the past four years, Bailey has been Australia's leading ODI run-scorer with 2603 at 40.67, and Finch third on the list with 2520 at 35.00.
"Big call," Australia's coach, Darren Lehmann said of the decision to drop Finch. "Obviously he's been an integral part since the World Cup but performances for Aaron have not been what we would've liked and what he would've liked to be perfectly honest. He hasn't made a hundred since Canberra last year. The challenge for him is to make big runs in the BBL and get back into the side.
"Tough call on George as well. He's a ripper bloke, he's fantastic around the group and he's been fantastic as a leader as well. Again, it's down to performances from George. He's got to go back and make big runs. The door is not shut on any of those players by the way when you're looking at this form of the game with Champions Trophy coming up. George has got to perform well and really put his case forward."
In announcing the squad, the interim chairman of selectors, Trevor Hohns, noted that Bailey had scored only one half-century in his last ten ODIs. While Khawaja appears the most likely candidate to replace Finch as David Warner's opening partner, the position of Bailey in the middle order could be filled by Lynn, who has played Twenty20s for Australia but is yet to make his ODI debut.
Lynn has lit up the BBL this summer and is the tournament's leading run-scorer, but remarkably has not played a domestic one-day game since 2013, as in each of the past three years he has suffered pre-season shoulder injuries that have ruled him out of the Matador Cups. He has, however, played List A games for Australia A during that time.
"Everyone loves what he's brought to the T20 format, now the challenge for him is to do that in the one-day format, which we know he can," Lehmann said. "He's had some injury concerns in the past but he seems to be batting well and deserves his spot."
The other new member of the ODI squad is Stanlake who, like Lynn, is from Queensland. A very tall fast bowler with limited state and BBL experience - he has played only two first-class matches and four List A games - the 22-year-old Stanlake is the most speculative pick in the 14-man squad. He too missed last year's Matador Cup through injury, in his case, a back complaint.
"He's tall, he's fast, he's got some bounce. So that's a pleasing thing for us," Lehmann said. "He will more than likely only play a couple of games depending on the make-up of the side and where we play. It's a good challenge for a young kid coming through."
Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have both been included in the squad, but are expected to be rested at some stage during the series after their heavy workloads over the Test summer. The first of the five ODIs takes place at the Gabba on Friday next week.
Squad Steven Smith (capt), David Warner, Pat Cummins, James Faulkner, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Chris Lynn, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), Adam Zampa
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale