Australia’s T20 World Cup squad: Mitch Marsh to lead but no place for Smith

Smith to miss his first World Cup since 2012, while uncapped batter Jake Fraser-McGurk is also overlooked by selectors.

Australian cricketers
Mitchell Marsh has led Australia's T20 side since Aaron Finch's retirement in 2023 [File: Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

Mitch Marsh will captain Australia at the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup 2024 next month, leading a squad that is missing ex-skipper Steve Smith and up-and-coming batter Jake Fraser-McGurk.

Marsh, who is recovering from an injured hamstring, was confirmed as T20 captain on Wednesday after sharing the duties on an interim basis since the retirement last year of Aaron Finch.

Smith’s omission for the tournament starting June 2 in the United States and Caribbean means it will be the first time since 2012 that he has missed a World Cup in the limited-overs formats.

Smith, 34, has signed for the Washington Freedom for the second season of Major League Cricket in the US, which starts on July 4, four days after the T20 World Cup concludes.

“It’s probably for Steve to answer what his goals or challenges are going forward and what he wants to achieve in the game,” Australia’s chief selector George Bailey told reporters.

“I know he still loves playing T20 cricket.”

Fraser-McGurk surged into selection calculations on the back of his 233.33 strike rate in the Indian Premier League (IPL). But it was not enough to replace Travis Head or the veteran David Warner at the global tournament.

Allrounder Marsh will likely bat at number three and Glenn Maxwell at four in the lineup, with Tim David likely to fill the finisher role further down the order.

“The batting options available allow a tailored approach to each venue and opponent,” Bailey said.

“Steve Smith, Matt Short, Jason Behrendorff, Aaron Hardie, Spencer Johnson and Xavier Bartlett were all part of long conversations, along with several others, including Jake Fraser-McGurk who is yet to play T20 International cricket but continues to impress and is developing rapidly.”

Bailey said Fraser-McGurk’s form had been “great of late”.

“But the way we’re functioning at the top of the order with the three guys we’ve had there has been really strong as well,” he said.

“Ultimately, in that squad of 15, we’re looking to get that balance we want in for each game with different opponents, different venues and different surfaces.”

Matt Wade and Josh Inglis were picked as wicketkeepers and Ashton Agar returns to the squad as a second spinning option to Adam Zampa.

The regular pace bowling trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood will have support from Nathan Ellis as well as allrounders Cameron Green, Marsh and Marcus Stoinis.

The 2021 T20 World Cup champions will open against Oman in Barbados on June 5.

The Australians are the defending champions in the ICC’s World Test Championship and the 50-over World Cup.

Australia’s squad for T20 World Cup: David Warner, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Tim David, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Ashton Agar, Cameron Green, and Nathan Ellis

Source: News Agencies