Mitch Marsh to Lead Australian T20I Squad on Tour to South Africa | Sportsmonks

Mitch Marsh to Lead Australian T20I Squad on Tour to South Africa

The upcoming South African tour will see Western Australian allrounder Mitch Marsh taking the helm as captain of Australia’s T20 international squad. This assignment follows the retirement of Aaron Finch and marks Marsh’s inaugural opportunity to lead in the short-format cricket. The chosen 14-player contingent includes three emerging stars from the Big Bash League (BBL), namely Aaron Hardie, the reigning KFC BBL player of the tournament Matt Short, and the breakout left-arm force Spencer Johnson – all of whom stand poised for their maiden international appearances during the three-match T20 series.

Subsequent to the T20 series, the itinerary includes five one-day internationals that serve as a preparatory phase for the World Cup. This venture has led to the announcement of a provisional 18-man squad for the tournament. However, the infusion of a new wave of talent into the T20 side adds a layer of intrigue to this leg of the tour.

Of the most recent T20 XI fielded by Australia in November, merely five players retain their positions in the 14-member squad: Mitch Marsh, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, and Adam Zampa.

It is pertinent to note that Marsh’s captaincy responsibility for the South Africa series is limited in scope, as Cricket Australia has yet to designate a permanent successor for Aaron Finch, who participated in his final T20 International in October last year.

While Mitch Marsh has commanded as captain for the Perth Scorchers and Western Australia, Ashton Turner has recently assumed these duties in certain contexts, making him a potential contender for the captaincy role.

In the words of George Bailey, the chair of the selection committee, “Mitch has long been a senior player within the white-ball structure, with this an opportunity for him to add to his leadership skills at international level. We look forward to him taking that step in South Africa.”

Marsh’s selection as captain comes on the heels of his remarkable resurgence in the T20 format. This resurgence coincided with his elevation to the No.3 batting position in 2021. Notably, he emerged as Australia’s top-performing batter during tours to the West Indies and Bangladesh. He maintained this pivotal role during the World Cup of that year, delivering crucial performances when it mattered most. His exceptional unbeaten knock of 77 runs from 50 balls in the final earned him the player-of-the-match distinction.

While the opening slots remain up for contention, Steve Smith’s impressive performance in the late stages of BBL|12 with the Sydney Sixers positions him as a strong candidate to fill one of these slots amid a wealth of top-order talent.

The Australia T20 squad includes: Mitchell Marsh (c), Sean Abbott, Jason Behrendorff, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Aaron Hardie, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa.

Competing for top-order positions, Matt Short and Travis Head, who stood in as openers during the T20 series in Pakistan due to Warner’s injury, will contend with Josh Inglis, the only wicketkeeper in the squad. This suggests that Australia has likely moved on from Matthew Wade. The strategic role for Inglis, who will have had no official matches for over five months at the start of the T20 series, is yet to be determined – whether he will transform into a late-innings finisher akin to Wade, or be positioned to shift established T20 regulars like Marsh, Maxwell, Stoinis, and Tim David down the batting order, remains to be seen.

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