Ashton Agar to face England again
Ashton Agar will return to international cricket for the first time since his memorable cameo in the 2013 Ashes series, after being chosen as the lone spin bowler in Australia's first ODI squad since winning the World Cup final at home in Melbourne in March.
Agar has been chosen with an eye towards the future as the selectors continue to deny Nathan Lyon a place in the limited-overs side. Joe Burns and Marcus Stoinis have also been chosen in the limited-overs squad for the first time, the former expected to replace the injured Aaron Finch as David Warner's opening partner.
As expected, Steven Smith will now captain the national side in all formats, the first time this has been the case since Ricky Ponting retired from T20 internationals in September 2009. Michael Clarke then led the T20 side until he also retired from the format in January 2011 in order to concentrate on Test and 50-over matches.
Stoinis' inclusion comes largely as a result of James Faulkner's four-match suspension from international duty due to a drink driving offence when playing for Lancashire in England's domestic NatWest Twenty20 Blast competition. James Pattinson and Nathan Coulter-Nile also make international returns, while Matthew Wade will don the ODI gloves vacated by the retired Brad Haddin.
"The squad we have selected has a few fresh faces in it as well as some experienced players that will provide us with the right balance,'' the selection chairman Rod Marsh said. "Ashton has performed very well with the ball since his return from shoulder surgery including taking five wickets in the recent Australia A game in India. He has played in these conditions over here before and the National Selection Panel believes he has a very bright future.
"Joe has impressed us immensely over in India with Australia A. He is a very capable young batsman who has experience opening, and we think he will grab his opportunity with the white ball during this series. Marcus has performed very well in India during the four-day series and we have always liked that option of the extra allrounder in our side, so with James Faulkner's unavailability, this is a great opportunity for Marcus."
Agar's inclusion may also be a pointer towards the way the national selectors are thinking in terms of spin-bowling spots for the Test tour of Bangladesh in October. The wrist spinner Fawad Ahmed was taken on the dual West Indies and Ashes tours ahead of Agar but has not performed to the standards the selectors hoped for.
Other limited-overs merchants to return to Australian duty will include George Bailey, who gave up his place in the middle order during the World Cup to allow for Clarke's return from injury and will now reclaim it, while Cameron Boyce will again be granted a chance to bowl in the lone T20 match ahead of next year's World T20, to be held in India.
Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood were not considered for the squad due to their heavy workloads during the Ashes, and Marsh said the selection panel's preference was for the pair to enjoy full pre-seasons back home rather than lingering in England.
"After Test matches both here and in the West Indies," Marsh said, "we have opted to give both of those fast bowlers the opportunity to have a pre-season build-up in the lead-up to what will be another busy Australian season."
Australia squad: Steven Smith (capt), Ashton Agar, George Bailey, Joe Burns, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Shane Watson, David Warner, Cameron Boyce (T20I only)
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig