Marsh captains Australia T20 squad for NZ series

Marsh captains Australia T20 squad for NZ series


Mitchell Marsh was named captain of the squad for a three-match series in New Zealand

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Mitchell Marsh looks set to lead Australia into this year's Twenty20 World Cup after being named captain of a full-strength squad for a three-match series in New Zealand this month, the team's last before June's global showpiece.

Aaron Finch, who led Australia to their first T20 World Cup triumph in 2021, retired as captain in the shortest format a year ago but Cricket Australia have yet to formally anoint his successor.

Test and one-day skipper Pat Cummins is one of the big-name players returning to the squad after being rested for the upcoming home series against West Indies but Marsh will retain the captaincy for the matches in Auckland and Wellington.

First-choice batsmen Travis Head and Steve Smith and left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc return along with Cummins in the 15-man squad for the series, which begins at Wellington Stadium on Feb. 21 before two matches at Auckland's Eden Park.

"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," head selector George Bailey said in a news release.

"We will also fully utilise the opportunity to monitor and watch the performances of the Australian players in the (Indian Premier League) immediately preceding the World Cup."

Matt Short, one of the batters hoping to replace Finch at the top of the order, was included in the squad despite a low-grade hamstring injury that has ruled him out of the West Indies series.

Pace bowler Nathan Ellis is recovering from a rib injury and Spencer Johnson is on standby to replace him in the squad for the West Indies series should he need more time to be ready for the trip to New Zealand, Cricket Australia said.

Australia take on West Indies in a three-match T20 series starting in Hobart on Friday as part of their preparations for the June 1-29 World Cup in the Caribbean and United States.

Squad: Mitchell Marsh (captain), 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