Australian cricket selectors have picked what looks a decent squad for the upcoming World Twenty20 in India. On paper, anyway.
The Australian World Twenty20 squad
Steve Smith (capt), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, James Faulkner, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill, Andrew Tye, Shane Watson, Adam Zampa.
So then. Let's talk through a few of the inclusions and omissions. Inclusions first.
Usman Khawaja: Had to be there. Might not have been there. Is there. Phew.
Andrew Tye: A good young bowler who went for nearly ten runs an over against in the two matches he played against India recently, but so did everyone. Bowls yorkers better than most. Also ensures there is at least one hipster beard in team.
Shane Watson: India loves him. India wants him in its IPL. But do we? At the start of this summer, many of us would have said nope, he's done. Out to pasture, Watto. But after his brilliant 124 not out in the T20 at the SCG, yep, we love him again. Weapon.
Steve Smith as captain: No disrespect at all to the dethroned Finchy. Just a continuity thing. Good decision, guys.
Peter Nevill: Great choice. Ideally you want your Test keeper to play limited roles in other cricket in this day and age. But for one tournament it can't hurt. We need a good gloveman. Nevill is that. And Wade has always come across as a bit of a dope. Seeya.
Ashton Agar: An interesting one but we need spinners in India so why not? His Big Bash form has been great for a couple of years now. That competition should count for something.
Adam Zampa: Played well in the One Dayers against New Zealand. He's got something. Looks a real competitor. Hard to score off. Good choice.
Chris Lynn: Listening to Mark Waugh commentating throughout the Big Bash, you got the sense that the hard-hitting Queenslander was never really in his plans. Lynn got his chance on home soil against India but failed in three T20 innings. A tough decision, but probably the right one.
Shaun Tait: Had a good Big Bash but bowled too many legside wides in the home series against India. His international career appears to be over now.
Cameron Boyce: Good young spinner who hasn't done too much wrong but got Zampa'd. One for the future.
George Bailey: Aaron Finch may or may not recover from his hamstring injury in time. If he doesn't make it, you'd assume George would take his place. But for now, yep, we can understand why they omitted the likeable Tasmanian.
As to whether this Australian squad can make a series tilt at the only major tournament we've never won, that's another question. Bookies aren't exactly enthralled by our prospects. We're fourth favourites behind India, South Africa and the West Indies.
The World Twenty20 will be held in India between March 8 and April 3. The women's tournament starts on March 15 and also culminates on April 3.Suggest a correction