Nathan Lyon and James Pattinson will not be part of Australia's squad for the ICC World Twenty20 after surprisingly being left out of the 30-man preliminary group. Rob Quiney and Glenn Maxwell are the only men in the squad who have not played for Australia in any format, and Maxwell's odds of being taken to Sri Lanka for the world tournament have shortened dramatically with the omission of his fellow offspinner Lyon.
In February, the national selector John Inverarity said Australia were planning to take Brad Hogg, Xavier Doherty and Lyon to the World T20, to be held in spin-friendly conditions. Lyon, who made his name in T20 for South Australia, was part of Australia's squad in the West Indies but did not make his T20 international debut, and collected one wicket in his two ODI appearances.
He has now been overlooked for Maxwell, 23, who is expected to make his debut on the upcoming tour of the UAE and is the only right-arm finger-spinner in the 30-man squad, while the legspinner Steven Smith is also part of the group. Maxwell offers a superior all-round package to Lyon, given his powerful striking and athletic fielding, but he has not yet displayed the wicket-taking ability of Lyon, who appears now to be viewed by the selectors as a Test specialist.
Just as surprising was the decision to omit Pattinson, who has played four T20s for Australia over the past year. Although his economy rate of eight is higher than the selectors would ideally like in the shortest format, Pattinson would still have expected to be part of the 30-man group, but he has instead been squeezed out while the selectors have chosen Dirk Nannes, who has not played for Australia in nearly two years, and the seamer Ben Laughlin.
Nannes, 36, is in far from career-best form, having picked up four wickets in nine matches for Surrey in the county T20 competition this year, and Laughlin, 29, has not played for Australia in more than three years. However, Laughlin's accurate style might suit the Sri Lankan pitches. There was no place in the group for Peter Siddle or Doug Bollinger, who have played for Australia in T20s in the past two years, or Phillip Hughes, who is currently the leading run scorer in the Friends Life t20 competition in England.
"The ICC World Twenty20 will be a fiercely contested tournament," Inverarity said. "A great deal of flamboyant cricketing talent will be on display and some games will be turned on their heads by 10 minutes of brilliance. The squad announced today is full of talent, enterprise and all-round strength. Within the 30 players named is depth and cover for all departments within the team."
The squad is to be trimmed to the final 15 members by August 18.
Australia squad George Bailey, Travis Birt, Dan Christian, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brad Hogg, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Laughlin, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Andrew McDonald, Clint McKay, Dirk Nannes, Stephen O'Keefe, Tim Paine, Rob Quiney, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.