Australia news October 19, 2014

Dunk, White, Reardon into T20 squad

Ben Dunk is the unexpected choice as Australia's Twenty20 wicketkeeper batsman while Nathan Reardon and Cameron White have also earned places in the squad to face South Africa next month.

Unable to choose the likes of David Warner, Mitchell Johnson and Glenn Maxwell due to the series' close proximity to the Test team's current engagement against Pakistan in the UAE, the national selector Rod Marsh unveiled a squad that rewarded numerous striking displays in the domestic limited overs competition playing out in Brisbane and Sydney.

Chief among these was Dunk's Australian record 229* for Tasmania against Queensland at North Sydney Oval, a feat of sustained hitting watched by the selector Mark Waugh. White and Reardon have put in a handful of similarly eye-catching displays.

Dunk's donning of the gloves may have come as a surprise to the likes of Matthew Wade, Tim Paine, Peter Nevill, Sam Whiteman and Chris Hartley, given that he is not presently keeping wicket for the Tigers. It also came with a dash of irony given that the national coach Darren Lehmann had delisted Dunk when coach of Queensland. But a strong recent T20 record - he performed ably for the Hobart Hurricanes in the CLT20 - pushed his case.

"It is a little bit ironic," Dunk told reporters in Sydney. "Obviously every coach has to make their opinions on players and he had to form a squad that he thought was going to take Queensland forward. I wasn't part of those plans and that is OK.

"That's the way professional sport is. Coaches, I guess, they live and die by their success and they have to make decisions and unfortunately I was on the wrong end of that decision. I think I'm a much better player now than I was then so hopefully he can form a different opinion.

"I was delisted and at the time I felt that I still had a bit to offer as a cricketer and a few things I hadn't accomplished yet and Tasmania gave me that opportunity. It's been a pretty long journey, and probably not the one that everyone would like to take, but I guess that makes it all the more rewarding."

Marsh said the tight nature of the schedule afforded his panel the chance to afford opportunities to a handful of fresh names, who can now push for retention ahead of the longer-term goal of the 2016 World Twenty20.

"While the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 seems a long time away, the nature of short T20 series at international level means every match between now and then is a great opportunity for players to show what they're capable of against high quality opposition," Marsh said.

"The squad itself includes a good blend of youth and experience, providing Aaron with multiple options with both bat and ball. We've seen some good form in Matador One-Day Cup recently from players such as Cameron White, Nathan Reardon, Ben Dunk and Ben Cutting and they've been rewarded for those good performances."

"[The schedule] gives people opportunities, people grab their opportunities and if someone does really well in this three match series we'll find it hard to leave him out for further T20 matches we play before the World Cup."

Shane Watson will use the series to make his return from ankle and calf problems, and he may be joined by one or two other members of the current Test squad, pending selection for the second and final Test against Pakistan. Australia have named Trevor Bayliss as the interim coach for the series while Darren Lehmann returns home from the UAE.

The T20 squad will assemble in Adelaide on November 1.

Australia Twenty20 squad: Aaron Finch (capt), Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Cameron Boyce, Patrick Cummins, Ben Cutting, Ben Dunk (wk), James Faulkner (chosen subject to Pakistan Test series selection), Nic Maddinson, Nathan Reardon, Kane Richardson, Shane Watson, Cameron White.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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