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News

Smith, Cummins, Starc return for New Zealand T20Is, Marsh to captain

Matt Short named for New Zealand but will miss West Indies series due to a hamstring injury with Aaron Hardie replacing him

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
05-Feb-2024
Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc will return for the T20Is in New Zealand  •  AFP/Getty Images

Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc will return for the T20Is in New Zealand  •  AFP/Getty Images

Steven Smith, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc have been named in Australia's full-strength T20I squad for the upcoming three-match tour of New Zealand which Mitchell Marsh will captain as the selectors declare their hand in what will be the team's final series before the T20 World Cup in June.
Chair of selectors George Bailey had mooted last month that Smith would return to the squad after being rested from the upcoming T20I home series against West Indies which begins in Hobart on Friday. Cummins and Starc will also return in New Zealand after missing the West Indies series. Travis Head has also been named. He was originally selected to play in the West Indies series but has been withdrawn to rest ahead of the New Zealand series.
Marsh will lead the full-strength squad but the selectors have yet to confirm if he will captain at the World Cup. That will likely be done after the New Zealand series as it will be the first time Marsh will captain when Andrew McDonald is coaching. McDonald rested from the South Africa T20I series that Marsh captained last year and is also resting from the West Indies series later this week.
Matthew Short has been named in the squad to tour New Zealand but was withdrawn from the West Indies series on Tuesday due to the low-grade hamstring injury he suffered in Sunday's second ODI in Sydney. Aaron Hardie will replace Short in the squad for the West Indies' T20I series but has not been included in the New Zealand squad.
Nathan Ellis has been named as the fourth fast bowler behind Cummins, Starc and Josh Hazlewood for the New Zealand series although he is still recovering from a rib injury. He has edged ahead of Jason Behrendorff and Sean Abbott in the pecking order with the latter two named as standby players for the New Zealand tour despite playing in the West Indies series while Cummins and Starc rest.
Spencer Johnson is on standby for the West Indies T20I series in case Ellis needs more time ahead of the New Zealand tour.
"Travis, Pat, Mitchell and Steve rejoin the squad following the series against the West Indies with Jason Behrendorff and Sean Abbott amongst the standby players from those playing the upcoming T20s," Bailey said. "The next six games will provide us the opportunity to start shaping what we think our World Cup squad will look like and potential roles within that.
"We will also fully utilise the opportunity to monitor and watch the performances of the Australian players in the IPL immediately preceding the World Cup."
There is no room for Cameron Green in the T20I squad with Bailey stating last month that the selectors wanted him to focus on his red-ball preparation for the New Zealand Test series that follows the T20Is. The selectors are confident Green will get enough T20 cricket at the IPL with Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Australia squad for New Zealand T20I series

Mitchell Marsh (capt), Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

Alex Malcolm is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo