Smith, Warner named in Australia's preliminary squad for WI tour; Labuschagne misses out

Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc mark their return as Australia named its preliminary squad for the limited-overs tour of West Indies.

Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc - who missed Australia's T20I series in New Zealand in March - mark their return in the Aaron Finch-led side.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Australia has announced a 23-member preliminary squad on Monday for its limited-overs tour of West Indies in July with the return of key stars in the Aaron Finch-led side.

Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc - who missed Australia's T20I series in New Zealand in March - mark their return to the side while batsman Marnus Labuschagne who is currently county cricket for Glamorgan, missed out on the squad due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

"Anyone who knows Marnus understands he would give absolutely anything to play for Australia and he is deeply upset to miss out due to circumstances beyond anyone's control. We worked through numerous options in conversations with Marnus to find a workable solution but ultimately came to the conclusion it was more practical for him to remain in the UK," Australia's national selector Trevor Hohns said in an official Cricket Australia release.

"Had we not been in the middle of a global pandemic Marnus would be on this tour as a well-established member and important part of the one-day side. As it stands, Marnus has the opportunity to continue in County Cricket and T20 games with Glamorgan as we head into the World Cup and home summer," he added.

Labuschagne, will remain in Wales with county side Glamorgan because of "the logistical complexities of joining the squad from the UK and associated quarantines", Cricket Australia (CA) said in its news release.

Australia also named four spinners - leg-spinners Mitchell Swepson, Adam Zampa and Big Bash League (BBL) sensation Tanveer Sangha made the cut while Ashton Agar remained the lone finger-spinner.

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Wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey who last featured for Australia in T20s in September also marked his return with Mathew Wade and Josh Philippe also in the mix.

Seamers Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorff and Riley Meredith were also named in the preliminary squad alongside Cummins, Hazlewood, and Starc.

Hohns said the squad was picked with Australia's T20 World Cup plans in mind. He said: "This preliminary list gives selectors a solid base from which to choose a final touring party in the coming weeks while allowing players to prepare."

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"The Australian men's T20 squad has the ability to match it with any team in the world and the competition for places will be fierce, which is exactly what we are looking for. The West Indies men's team has won two of the six ICC T20 World Cups played, including the most recent tournament in India and 2016, and this series will provide us with excellent preparation ahead of the 2021 edition in October and November," Hohns added.

The five-match T20I series which begins on July 10 in St.Lucia, is followed by three ODIs.

Australia's 23-member preliminary squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Tanveer Sangh, D'Arcy Short, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.


(With inputs from ANI)

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