Wicketkeeper Peter Nevill was a surprise inclusion in Australia’s 15-man squad for the World Twenty20 in India.
The 30-year-old, who has never played white-ball cricket for his country, has replaced incumbent wicketkeeper and Melbourne Renegades team-mate Matthew Wade following their 2-1 one-day series international defeat to New Zealand.
National selector Rod Marsh feels that the experienced gloveman is the best option for the tournament.
“We feel our batting depth in this squad is sufficient enough that we can have a specialist wicketkeeper in the squad,” Marsh said.
“We want Australia’s best wicketkeeper playing in this tournament and we consider Peter Nevill to be the best in the country right now.”
Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar was also included in the squad having never represented Australia in the T20 format.
In addition, the party sees 10 of 19 players who featured during their 3-0 T20 series defeat at the hands of India axed as Australia look to claim the only global cricket trophy they have yet to win.
Gloucestershire death bowler Andrew Tye, batsman Usman Khawaja, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, and newly-capped leg-spinner Adam Zampa all made the cut as Shaun Marsh, Nathan Lyon and Shaun Tait made way.
With slow-turning pitches expected at the tournament, Rod Marsh said variation in the bowling department was crucial.
“Given the conditions we are likely to face in India we wanted to have a number of different spinning options available to us,” Marsh added.
“Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell give us plenty of flexibility in the slow-bowling department which is incredibly important in this format.”
“We think now is the right time for Steve to lead Australia in all three forms of the game as it offers us important continuity, not only ahead of the World T20, but beyond that tournament as well,” Marsh said.
“Overall, we believe the squad we have selected is well-balanced and has the experience and talent required to be successful in India and help us win the World T20 title for the first time.
Australia squad: Steven Smith, David Warner, 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.