Legspinner James Muirhead and batsman Chris Lynn will be in line for international debuts after being named in Australia's Twenty20 squad to take on England. Aaron Finch has been named vice-captain to George Bailey for the three-match T20 series that follows the ODIs, with Cameron White and Mitchell Starc both back in the reckoning along with Josh Hazlewood, Ben Cutting and Moises Henriques.
The most surprising selection was that of Muirhead, 20, who has played only four Twenty20 matches in his career, including only two for the Melbourne Stars this summer for a return of one wicket. However, Muirhead did bowl well in the Prime Minister's XI match against England in Canberra, where he took 3 for 52, and he also played against England in two other tour games earlier in the summer.
"We'll select the 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup in the middle of February and we're looking at spin-bowling options," John Inverarity, the national selector, said. "There are a number of spin-bowling options. Xavier Doherty of course has strong claims, Brad Hogg still has strong claims and we're interested in a legspinner also.
"So we're having a look at James Muirhead this time. He's a young man and he's impressed this season when he's played against England. He's a young man who really puts a lot on the ball and his legbreak turns. He's in the squad for the experience and if he plays I'm sure that he'll be striving to make the most of the opportunity."
The inclusion of Lynn was less of a surprise as he has been one of state cricket's most promising young batsmen for several seasons, and this summer has 197 BBL runs at 32.83. A clean striker of the ball for the Brisbane Heat and Queensland, Lynn also impressed the selectors with his 104 and 61 not out when he was drafted into the Western Australia Chairman's XI that took on England before the first Ashes Test.
"[He] had a difficult season last season and wasn't included in Queensland's first Sheffield Shield match," Inverarity said of Lynn. "He came here to play against England for the Western Australia XI and made a century, and hasn't looked back. He's a fine striker of the ball."
James Faulkner is the only member of Australia's Test squad to tour South Africa who will also be part of the T20s against England, with other senior T20 players such as David Warner and Shane Watson to focus on their Test preparations. Starc will be back for his first internationals since the Ashes tour of England, having missed the home Ashes with a back injury.
"Mitchell Starc has a fine record in international T20 cricket and is an important player in our ICC World Twenty20 campaign," Inverarity said. "It is anticipated that he will be ready to perform by the end of this month."
Twenty20 squad George Bailey (capt), Aaron Finch (vice-capt), Daniel Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Cutting, James Faulkner, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Muirhead, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), Cameron White.