Selectors set to juggle national sides

A full-on international schedule will see Australian players scattered across the southern hemisphere

Australia's selectors and captain Steve Smith will tailor individual plans for players in order to strike a balance between fielding a strong T20 side and preparing for the Test tour of South Africa. 

National selector Mark Waugh conceded it would be impossible for Australia to field a full-strength T20 outfit in the later stages of the trans-Tasman tri-series with England and New Zealand with a cramped international schedule. 

The final of the Gillette T20 Series is played at Eden Park in Auckland on February 21, the day before Australia's only warm-up match of the four-Test Qantas Tour of South Africa begins.

"It's going to be tricky. There will be four or five, maybe more, players that will cross over (between the T20 and Test teams)," Waugh said on Big Sports Breakfast radio.

"The captain and coach will sit down with the selectors and we'll work out which guys probably need to go to South Africa early and which we can keep here for the T20s. 

"Twenty20 is a bit of a priority for Australia, we're sort of battling a bit in that area so we want to get some wins on the board and get our ranking up (and) looking ahead to the world cup we want to be competitive there."

Australia hosts the next World T20 tournament in two year's time, with separate events for the men's and women's team. While Australia's women's team have won the tournament three times (2010, 2012, 2014) it remains the only global prize the men's team has not claimed.

Australia's best finish was the final of the 2010 tournament in the West Indies, where they were beaten by England. 

"We want to try put our best team on the paddock. But logistically it's not going to happen because there's going to be guys in South Africa," Waugh said. 

"We'll work it out, it will probably be a mixture, some will stay and some will go, depending on what Darren (Lehmann) and Steve Smith think is best for each individual player."

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It means a possible opening for some stars that emerge during the KFC BBL season to be fast-tracked into the Australia set-up, with Hobart Hurricanes master blaster D'Arcy Short seen as a front-runner. 

Brisbane Heat 'Bash Brother' Chris Lynn could also return to national colours if he successfully proves his fitness after a calf injury ruled him out of the Gillette ODI Series against England.

Outstanding fast bowlers, such as the Perth Scorchers' Jhye Richardson and the Adelaide Strikers' Billy Stanlake could also resume their international careers.

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Despite having rolled to a convincing 4-0 victory against England in the Magellan Ashes, the challenge awaiting across the Indian Ocean is not being underestimated by Australia, with key players targeted to be at peak condition for the four-Test series. 

"There's obviously no four-day, no Sheffield Shield cricket floating around … guys like David Warner and Smith and the fast bowlers, they will get a rest up," Waugh said. 

"We need to get them fresh and ready for South Africa. That's going to be a tough tour, it's going to be a great tour. 

"They're a good side South Africa. The ball rolls on, you've got to try and get the best out of each individual player so they're mentally and physically right to be performing at the top level."

Australia will select their Test squad to tour South Africa later in January, with the T20 series starting February 3.

The JLT Sheffield Shield resumes with a round of action starting February 8, which is likely to feature Test players not involved in the T20 series. 

2017-18 International Fixtures

Gillette ODI Series v England

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Cameron White, Adam Zampa.

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21

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