Qantas T20 Tour of NZ 2021
Out-of-form Finch backed to return to damaging best
Australia captain remains top choice at the top of the order despite lean run and no shortage of contenders for his spot
27 January 2021, 02:55 PM AEST
Selector Trevor Hohns has backed captain Aaron Finch to come good in his Australian Twenty20 return and vowed to protect spinner Tanveer Sangha after the teenager was included to tour New Zealand in March.
Finch will captain the team for a five-match series that will take place at the same time as the Test squad is touring South Africa.
Sangha, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams and Ben McDermott are among the in-form KFC Big Bash talents included, while Matthew Wade will act as Finch's deputy after being dropped from the Test squad.
Finch, who last night said he would like to see Australia follow England's lead with a squad rotation policy, averaged just 13.8 with a top score of 39 in 13 innings in the Renegades' failed BBL campaign, but Hohns is confident the world's No.4-ranked T20I batter will find form in a squad that includes six players who usually open in T20 cricket.
"He's been a little out of nick, or out of runs," he said, "but on the international stage he's very well credentialled and one of the best T20 players in the world."
Wade, McDermott, Philippe, D'Arcy Short and Marcus Stoinis could all open but Hohns said the search was on for "role-specific" middle-order options ahead of the World Cup in India later this year.
Meanwhile, Hohns said Sangha's arrival had pleased him after watching the leg-spinner take the most wickets for Australia at last year's Under-19 World Cup.
At 19, the Sydney Thunder spinner has claimed 21 wickets and gone for just eight runs an over in his maiden BBL season.
"Seeing him perform in the BBL and very well at the young age he is, is very exciting," Hohns said.
"We have high hopes for him but we don't want to put too much pressure on a young player, particular a leg-spinner.
"It's hard. We have to make sure we look after him because experienced players will target a new, young fellow.
"It's great exposure for him to find out what the standard is like."
Hohns said Ashton Agar (calf) would be fit after missing the BBL season, while the T20 squad will also benefit after BBL leading wicket-taker Jhye Richardson was earmarked for a return from injury in the short form, rather than at Test level.
Australia T20 squad for Qantas tour of New Zealand: Aaron Finch (c), Matthew Wade (vc), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa