Aaron Finch will spearhead Australia’s World Cup defence after being confirmed as the new ODI captain, replacing Tim Paine ahead of next month’s series against South Africa with Alex Carey and Josh Hazlewood to serve as his deputies.
Finch leads a 14-man squad for the series starting in Perth on November 4 which has been bolstered by the inclusion of star pacemen Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc and the return of batting powerhouse Chris Lynn.
Shaun Marsh’s twin centuries in England proved enough to save his spot despite a dire Test series in the UAE, while Glenn Maxwell and Travis Head have also been backed to bolster their case for Test selection with white-ball runs.
Test vice-captain Mitch Marsh and offspinner Nathan Lyon are notable omissions along with white-ball specialist Andrew Tye – the latter squeezed out by an excess of fast bowling options which also include Nathan Coulter-Nile.
“We have made the decision to manage Mitch Marsh and Nathan Lyon carefully to ensure they are in the best condition possible to put their hand up for selection either later in the summer or the World Cup next year,” chief selector Trevor Hohns said.
“No doubt with a big summer program ahead, opportunities may well present themselves for Andrew, Mitch and Nathan, as well as others not included in this squad.”
Already national T20 captain, Finch has effectively been given full responsibility for Australia in white-ball cricket in a major endorsement of the Victorian’s leadership.
He is poised to play across all three formats this summer after making a successful Test debut in the UAE.
“We expect as Aaron, Josh and Alex lead the side through a big Australian summer … they’ll also be driving our standards and values as we prepare for our defence of the World Cup which is only seven months away,” Hohns said.
“We believe the squad we have selected will give us a great opportunity to not only be competitive at home this summer, but it also allows us to start to build continuity leading into next year’s tournament.”
Paine had only ever been considered a temporary ODI captain, and his widely-expected axing comes after he oversaw a 5-0 whitewash defeat in England earlier this year.
Hohns said the decision to hand the wicketkeeping gloves to Carey on a full-time basis would allow Paine to focus on the Test captaincy ahead of next year’s Ashes.
Carey kept on debut in Brisbane last summer but was relegated behind Paine in his other two ODI appearances in England.
Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa have been picked as the two spin options while D’Arcy Short and Marcus Stoinis are among other batsmen set to take on an imposing South African pace attack led by Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi.
Coach Justin Langer has indicated runs in the 50-over format will be valued when it comes to selecting players for the first Test against India in Adelaide.
Aaron Finch (capt), Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (vice-capt), Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood (vice-capt), Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa.