Mitchell Marsh will return to Australian duty for the first time in more than a year after being named in the squad for the Champions Trophy ODI tournament that precedes the Ashes in England. Marsh was named in Australia's 15-man squad alongside the uncapped fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile, while the leader of the national Twenty20 side, George Bailey, was named vice-captain to Michael Clarke.
The inclusion of Marsh, 21, follows a year in which he was sent home from the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane and then disciplined further for his part in the Perth Scorchers' Champions Trophy misadventures, but a handful of storming domestic limited-overs displays for Western Australia earned him his place. Marsh played five Ryobi Cup games last summer for 278 runs at 69.50, including his maiden century.
The Warriors narrowly missed the final despite that innings, 104 from 96 balls against Tasmania at the WACA, which also followed a hamstring injury that cruelled a significant portion of Marsh's summer. Marsh, whose most recent international was a T20 in February 2012, played his lone ODI in South Africa in late 2011. He has largely flattered to deceive in first-class matches thus far, but it is in 50-over fixtures that he has been most consistent, averaging 39.90 with the bat and 24.85 with the ball across 27 matches.
"We all know what a talented batting allrounder he is," John Inverarity, the national selector, said of Marsh, "and we look to him to fulfil the faith we have in him because he's a very talented cricketer."
Marsh will be joined in the squad by his state team-mate Coulter-Nile, who made his T20 international debut during the summer but is yet to play an ODI. Coulter-Nile, 25, was second only to Kane Richardson on the Ryobi Cup wicket tally last season with 16 victims at 23.18, and Inverarity also described him as "one of the three or four best fieldsmen in Australia".
"Nathan Coulter-Nile is an emerging cricketer as a fast-medium bowler and explosive lower-order batsman," Inverarity said. "He is also one of the finest fieldsmen in Australian cricket and the energy he brings to his game is impressive. While Nathan has played a T20 International for Australia, we are looking forward to seeing him take his very good domestic limited overs form onto the world stage."
The remainder of the Champions Trophy squad was largely as expected. The experienced batsman Adam Voges was included following his maiden ODI century against West Indies at the MCG, while Bailey was preferred to Matthew Wade as vice-captain.
"That was discussed," Inverarity said of Wade as a potential vice-captain, "but we went with George last [summer] and he captained three of the ODIs and two victories there, and as T20 captain he's had captaincy experience and is very highly regarded by the players."
Mitchell Starc and Clint McKay, both of whom are recovering from injuries, were named and are expected to be fit for the tournament, but injury concerns ruled out the Queensland fast bowler Ben Cutting. The squad does not include numerous players taking part in the concurrent Australia A tour of the British Isles, including James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Ryan Harris and Brad Haddin.
"As discussed last week at the Ashes squad announcement, James Pattinson and Ryan Harris haven't been selected but will play for Australia A to prepare them for the Ashes," Inverarity said. "Some who were close to selection included Steve Smith, Aaron Finch and Moises Henriques. However Steve and Moises will play for Australia A while the ICC Champions Trophy is being played.
"The ICC Champions Trophy is another important step in our aim to get back to the number one ranking. As the two-time defending champion, the squad has been selected with the aim of winning the tournament, starting against England at Edgbaston on 8 June, while also keeping the 2015 ICC World Cup firmly in mind."
Champions Trophy squad Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey (vice-capt), David Warner, Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Adam Voges, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, James Faulkner, Xavier Doherty, Clint McKay, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Coulter-Nile.