Head, Lynn spearhead recast batting order

Chris Lynn prepares to smash one Getty Images

Chris Lynn and Travis Head will add major firepower to Australia's ODI top order after the captain Steven Smith gave the pair licence to express themselves in the series opener against Pakistan at the Gabba on Friday.

George Bailey and Aaron Finch have been discarded to make way for Lynn, the man of the moment in the concurrent Big Bash League, and Head, who in 2015 hammered a double century in a Matador Cup match for South Australia but has until now been marking time in a middle-order role.

His elevation has also left room for Glenn Maxwell's return to the team, with Usman Khawaja is the man missing out on the XI for the Brisbane fixture. Smith said he wanted to give Lynn in particular plenty of freedom to use his power game on the international stage - within reason.

"He's got a licence to play the way he wants to play," Smith said. "Fifty overs is a long time so you've also got be a bit smarter with the way you play, but he's got some freedom to go out and play nice and positively.

"He's been a bit stiff and sore in the last couple of days but he's confident he'll be able to play and do well. He's been in red-hot form and hopefully he can bring that to the international stage. I've watched him in the nets in the last couple of days and he's hit the ball hard and well so hopefully he can do the same for us."

Head's elevation is a strong indicator of how highly he is regarded by the national set-up, and he may yet follow the new commission up by being included in the squad for the Test tour of India, to be announced sometime after the Gabba match. Smith said Khawaja had missed out narrowly to an incumbent member of the side.

"It was a tough call," Smith said. "I think looking around the squad, Maxwell was in the last group and it was good to get him into the line-up. Travis played very well in the last series and we've seen him play very well at the top of the order in the Matador Cup so it's given him an opportunity at the top and we've got plenty of power down the order. It's a good opportunity for Travis, but unlucky for Usman."

Among the bowlers, Smith will have the beanpole debutant Billy Stanlake at his disposal alongside Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. In addition to his height, Stanlake can match the more experienced pair for pace, and also has the ability to swing the new ball. It is an intimidating combination.

"I think he's going to be the tallest player to play for Australia so it's great having those kind of guys in the team," Smith said. "He bowls with good pace and it looks like he's got pretty good control as well. He should get bounce, he's releasing the ball from high enough.

"I've watched him pretty closely in the Big Bash. He's an exciting prospect. Hopefully he can start his international career on a good note. It's nice to have three guys who can get it up around 150kph - it's never nice to face."