All Australia's first-choice players who missed the recent tours of West Indies and Bangladesh have returned for the T20 World Cup in the UAE while wicketkeeper Josh Inglis has earned a maiden call-up. Aaron Finch, who is currently recovering from knee surgery, will lead a squad that includes David Warner, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins and Kane Richardson.
Mitchell Swepson has secured his spot as the third frontline spinner behind Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar. Inglis, who had a prolific domestic season in 2020-21 and has followed that with strong returns for Leicestershire in the county season, has jumped ahead of Alex Carey as the back-up wicketkeeper and a utility batter after Carey made just 57 runs in eight T20I innings over the previous two tours. Smith is on track in the recovery from his elbow injury which sidelined him after the suspended IPL.
"Josh has been on our radar for some time with his performances in white ball cricket and more recently in the Vitality Blast where he topped the run charts," chairman of selectors George Bailey said. "He offers the squad flexibility in the batting order with his adaptability, counterattacking ability and power striking. He is a player we are excited about for the future."
Inglis scored 531 runs at 48.27 in the Vitality Blast for Leicestershire at a strike-rate of 175.82 including two centuries. He played at the top of the order for them but last season moved into the middle order for Perth Scorchers. Overnight he also struck his best score in the Hundred for London Spirit with 72 off 45 balls.
Western Australia and Scorchers quick Jhye Richardson, who was another to opt out of the tours, has not been included while fringe allrounder Daniel Sams is among the three reserve players who will travel with the squad.
Dan Christian, who will be at the IPL ahead of the World Cup, is also among the back-up players alongside Nathan Ellis who took a hat-trick on debut against Bangladesh. Those players can only be used if someone from the original 15 is ruled out of the tournament through injury or illness.
Ellis has jumped ahead of Andrew Tye, Riley Meredith and Jason Behrendorff for the position of reserve pace bowler having initially not been part of the main squad on the recent tours before being elevated when Meredith was injured.
Australia have lost their last five T20I series having previously climbed to No. 1 in the rankings in early 2020 although for the last three of those contests - against New Zealand, West Indies and Bangladesh - have not been able to field their strongest side.
"We are confident this squad has the ability to take the side deep into what will be an extremely competitive tournament," Bailey said. "We have some of the best players in the world in their respective roles combined with the collective experience to succeed against the very best T20 sides in the world."
The preparation for those selected will differ significantly. Eleven of the 18 have IPL deals - although Cummins won't resume his as he stays at home for the birth of his first child - with most expected to head back to the UAE. The players who remain in Australia will train in their state set-ups with the current Covid-19 situation making it difficult to gather players in one location. While there are currently some Marsh Cup one-day games scheduled for mid-September there is likely to be disruption to that schedule.
The team is expected to have two warm-up matches ahead of their opening World Cup game against South Africa on October 23 while there remain discussions as to whether further matches against Afghanistan and West Indies could be squeezed in after the end of the IPL.
The players departing for the tournament from Australia will leave either in late September or early October.
Squad: Aaron Finch (capt), David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Josh Inglis
Travelling reserves: Dan Christian, Nathan Ellis, Daniel Sams
ICC Men's T20 World Cup
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo