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Australia squad for South Africa tour: Maxwell & Wade in, Handscomb & Short out

Australia squad for South Africa tour: Maxwell & Wade in, Handscomb & Short out

Australia have announced their squad for three ODIs and three T20Is for the tour of South Africa. The inclusion of Glenn Maxwell in both the squads is the biggest highlight.

Maxwell returns through sheer load of runs

When Australia lost the ODI series against India 2-1 despite winning the first match on the tour, the biggest loophole in their batting was the lack of a power-hitter in the middle order. Although Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne had good partnerships in both the last two ODIs, it was evident that the team could not push as hard at it should have.

Glenn Maxwell, who had taken and indefinite break from international cricket due to his mental health issues, showed no signs of rustiness in the Big Bash League. The all-rounder, captaining Melbourne Stars, has scored 389 runs from 14 innings at an average of 43.22 and a characteristic strike rate of over 150. This includes three half-centuries.

To go along with that, he has also chanced his arm in the powerplay and has picked up 8 wickets while bowling at an acceptable economy of 6.78. After such a performance, there was little doubt of his inclusion in both the squads and the selectors have obliged.

"It is fantastic to have Glenn back in both squads given his brilliant form in the middle order for the Stars along with his results with the ball," National Selector Trevor Hohns said. "Glenn was one of the first picked in the most recent T20 team at the start of the summer, prior to his break from the game." 

BBL performances awarded

Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade are the other two players to have benefited from their Big Bash League performances. Matthew Wade could not be available for a large chunk of the tournament due to his international commitments and kept coming in and going out of the league. Despite that, he scored the second-highest runs for his franchise with 351 runs from 9 matches at an average of over 50 and a strike rate of 170 +. Wade also struck an unbeaten 130, the 2nd highest score in BBL history and has been picked in both the squads.

"Matthew Wade is also in red hot form with the bat. He is a very strong fielder; and a great person to have in any team. He can also substitute as wicketkeeper if required," Hons said.

Mitchell Marsh, who looked good in one Ashes Test, injured his hand after that but has bounced back well from injury. The all-rounder was the highest run-scorer for his franchise Perth Scorchers with 382 runs at a strike rate of 145.

"Marsh has been in tremendous touch with the bat for the Scorchers since his return from injury and is now back bowling well. His performances warranted inclusion in the area he operates as a powerful middle order batsman and handy bowler," Hohns noted.

Pacers Abbott and Richardson given opportunities

Seen Abbott, on the back of his consistent performances in the Sheffield Shield and the Marsh One-day Cup, was included in the Australian ODI squad for the three-match series against India. However, he injured himself in the Big Bash League and had to be replaced by D'Arcy Short.

Having fully recovered from his injury, Abbott has been included in the T20Is. Playing for Sydney Sixers this year, the pacer has picked up 14 wickets from just six innings and would expect to get some game time.

"Jhye Richardson also returns to the T20 side from injury with his performances demanding inclusion. He is a terrific young player who has been sensational in all forms of the game; and is an extremely strong fieldsman," Hons explained.

Jhye Richardson was in line for playing the World Cup but unfortunately sustained a shoulder injury which did not allow him to do so. He has been included in the T20Is. Richardson got the call-up after picking up 15 wickets in the league stage of the BBL 09, with best match figures of 4/19.

Who missed out

Ashton Turner, Peter Handscomb and D'Arcy Short, who were all part of the ODI squad for the tour of India, are the ones to miss out - If you were looking at to see that coming, you would have missed out, as Marcus Stoinis, despite scoring the most runs in this edition of the Big Bash League at an average of over 55, has not been included. This is probably because Stoinis, owing to a side strain, has not begun bowling yet and the selectors are waiting for him to regain full fitness before considering his name.

The all-rounder, though, been included in the Australia A squad for a four-day game against Lions. The list also includes Moises Henriques, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja, Marcus Harris and Mitchell Swepson.

Here's a look at all the three squads:

ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (vc), Pat Cummins (vc), Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa


T20I squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (vc), Pat Cummins (vc), Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa 

Australia A squad for 4-day game against Lions: Moises Henriques, Jackson Bird, Marcus Harris, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Michael Neser, Kurtis Patterson, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Mark Steketee, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson

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