Mitchell Marsh in line for T20 debut
Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade and Patrick Cummins are all in line to make their international debuts after being named in Australia's squad to tour South Africa next month. Australia's selectors have chosen separate 14-man groups for the Twenty20s and ODIs in South Africa, with Mitchell Johnson axed from the Twenty20 outfit and David Hussey cut from the one-day side.
Cricket Australia are still in the process of choosing their new selectors, so the squads were picked by an interim panel led by the outgoing chairman Andrew Hilditch, along with Greg Chappell, Jamie Cox and the stand-in coach Troy Cooley. The captains were also part of the panel - Michael Clarke for the ODI squad and Cameron White for the T20 group.
A serious shoulder injury that ruled the allrounder John Hastings out of the trip opened the door for Marsh, 19, who is set to follow his older brother Shaun and father Geoff in representing Australia after being picked in the Twenty20 squad. A promising allrounder who played for Australia A on the recent tour of Zimbabwe, Marsh had been earmarked for higher honours since captaining Australia to the Under-19 World Cup title in 2010.
He's not the only teenager in the touring party, with Cummins, 18, having made both the T20 and ODI groups. A fast bowler who was the bolter in Cricket Australia's contract list this year, Cummins would be Australia's youngest ODI debutant if he plays in the series, beating his New South Wales team-mate Josh Hazlewood, who played at 19 last year.
It has been a remarkably quick rise for Cummins, who has played only two one-day matches for his state and has not yet taken a wicket in the format. His inclusion in the ODI squad means he will miss the first two rounds of the Sheffield Shield season.
The retirement of Brad Haddin from Twenty20 internationals, combined with Tim Paine's finger injury, meant Wade was the logical wicketkeeping choice for the shortest format. Wade, 23, has been third in line behind Haddin and Paine since playing for Australia A last year, and he confirmed his credentials with a standout summer in the Ryobi Cup.
But the news wasn't so good for two of the older members of the side. David Hussey, 34, lost his ODI place despite being part of the World Cup squad earlier this year and winning a CA contract, while the selectors preferred Doug Bollinger to Johnson in the Twenty20 side.
"Mitchell [Johnson] has struggled in this format of the game to date," Hilditch said. "Most Twenty20 internationals have been at the start of tours and Mitchell has not always been at his best in these matches. Obviously Mitchell has a great skill set for Twenty20 cricket and we are sure he will put a lot of pressure on us to pick him in the future in the Twenty20 team.
"We consider we have picked an extremely strong Twenty20 squad, which has a good balance of experience and exciting young talent. There is flexibility in the squad to deal with conditions in South Africa as we continue to prepare for the ICC World Twenty20, which is only a year away."
A key man in the T20 squad is David Warner, who has also been given a chance to resume his career in the 50-over format, having not played an ODI in more than two years. Hilditch described Warner's recent form as "irresistible", including three centuries in first-class and one-day cricket on the recent Australia A trip to Zimbabwe.
The inclusion of Warner comes after Haddin, who opened with Shane Watson during the World Cup, moved down the order during the recent ODIs in Sri Lanka. That could mean a battle between Warner and Shaun Marsh to become the next long-term opening partner for Watson in the one-day international side.
Australia play two Twenty20 internationals, in Cape Town on October 13 and in Johannesburg on October 16, before the series of three ODIs in Centurion, Port Elizabeth and Durban. The squad for the two Tests, in Cape Town and Johannesburg in early November, will be announced in the coming weeks.
ODI squad Shane Watson, David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (capt), Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin (wk), Steven Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Xavier Doherty, James Pattinson, Patrick Cummins, Doug Bollinger.
Twenty20 squad Shane Watson, David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Aaron Finch, David Hussey, Cameron White (capt), Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Steve O'Keefe, Brett Lee, James Pattinson, Patrick Cummins, Doug Bollinger.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo