Australia v Sri Lanka T20Is - Men
Inglis to debut, McDermott returns for opening T20
Perth Scorchers star Josh Inglis will bat at No.3 in the opening T20 against Sri Lanka with Ben McDermott to open for Australia's first game since winning T20 World Cup
Louis Cameron in Sydney
10 February 2022, 02:40 PM AEST
Josh Inglis will make his international debut at the SCG on Friday night after Australia's captain Aaron Finch announced the Western Australian will bat at No.3 in the opening Dettol T20 against Sri Lanka.
Inglis will replace Perth Scorchers teammate Mitch Marsh while the BBL|11 leading run-scorer Ben McDermott will open the batting in place of David Warner in the only two changes from the XI that won the T20 World Cup last November in Dubai.
Marsh and Warner have been rested from the series, while Travis Head is unavailable for the first three games as he plays Sheffield Shield cricket with South Australia.
Australia XI: Ben McDermott, Aaron Finch (c), Josh Inglis, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
It means there is still no place in the XI for Ashton Agar, who lost his spot on the eve of the World Cup. However, Finch suggested the spinning allrounder will likely play later in the five-match campaign as the Aussies tinker with their side.
Finch stressed Matthew Wade remains the side's first-choice gloveman having starred in the World Cup semi-final against Pakistan, when he and Marcus Stoinis virtually won a tight game off their own bats.
That means Inglis will play as a batter only, a sign of how highly the Aussie camp rate the emerging 26-year-old.
"Wadey's the keeper, he did a fantastic job throughout the World Cup," Finch said on the eve of the series opener.
"We see that being his role, really nailing down that No.7 role going forward."
Finch also said BBL11 player-of-the-tournament McDermott now has the chance to show why he should be a long-term T20 opening successor to he and Warner following the Hobart star's dominant BBL run-scoring campaign.
"Ben McDermott has been in unbelievable nick so to get him at the top of the order was really crucial for us," Finch said.
"And Josh Inglis has been someone who has been shuffled around the order a little bit.
"(His selection) is a sign of how well he's played over the last couple of years, but also how great he was around the group at the T20 World Cup.
"He hasn't got the runs he would have liked throughout the Big Bash as he has done in the past. But he was playing slightly different roles. So it's a great opportunity for him."
The series marks not only the first campaign of the post-Justin Langer era, but also the T20 side's first matches since the World Cup win that has "raised expectations", as Finch put it today.
The Test side hierarchy have made no secret of the fact they see having two 35-year-old openers in Warner and Usman Khawaja as being unsuitable for long-term succession planning, and Finch conceded today that is also a consideration in the shortest format.
But the fact there another World Cup is imminent, with the next edition getting underway in Australia next summer barely 12 months after the previous one, means a 'win now' mentality is justified.
"It will be a really interesting one actually because there will be some guys who are rested throughout T20 games (in the coming months) just based on their workload," said Finch.
"That gives guys an opportunity to put their hand up. It doesn't mean they'll overtake them and it's important to keep (strategy) really simple and really clear when guys are coming in for guys who are resting. It's a big distinction to be made.
"That's something we'll continue to talk about (but) if the World Cup was starting tomorrow, I think we'd still be going in with the same XI."
Agar is undoubtedly the most unlucky to miss selection for Friday's series opener after the left-armer was also an unfortunate casualty of Australia's successful call at the World Cup to back in their three gun quicks in Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood and play just four specialist bowlers.
Recent history of Australia's limited-overs campaigns would suggest the pace trio will not all play five T20s against Sri Lanka, meaning Agar will almost certainly play alongside star leggie Adam Zampa at some stage.
"We're going to tinker around with (the team), no doubt," said Finch. "We went through the majority of the World Cup with the three quicks and Adam Zampa as the leg-spinner.
"There's going to be different times when we play six batters and five bowlers. Tomorrow we've got the seven and four – the same formation we went with at the World Cup.
"It just comes down the conditions, the opposition but we've also got to stay true to what's our best XI.
"Ashton Agar has got a really important role to play going forward. He was bitterly disappointed to miss out for most of the games at the World Cup and rightfully so. He'd done a wonderful job (in the years before that).
"It wasn't the fact that he was dropped, it was just a change of strategy with the side. He's still got a massive job to play for the Australian team."
Dettol T20 Series v Sri Lanka 2022
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head*, Moises Henriques, Josh Inglis, Ben McDermott, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa *unavailable for first three matches
Sri Lanka squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Janith Liyanage, Kamil Mishara, Ramesh Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Thushara, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Shiran Fernando
All matches broadcast exclusively on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports. Radio coverage by ABC Grandstand