Qantas T20 Tour of NZ 2021
Tanveer leads fresh-faced trio for NZ T20 tour
Thunder teenager joins Philippe and Meredith as uncapped players named in 18-man squad for upcoming T20I series across the Tasman
27 January 2021, 11:04 AM AEST
Australia will take three uncapped players on a tour to New Zealand for a five-match T20 series starting next month, including teenage leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha.
Sangha, 19, is the bolter in an 18-man squad that also includes Matthew Wade, who has been axed from Australia's Test squad that will concurrently be in South Africa.
The other uncapped players are Sydney Sixers opener and gloveman Josh Philippe and Hobart Hurricanes speedster Riley Meredith. That pair will be eyeing an international debut having not played on Australia's limited-overs tour of England last September.
Australia T20 squad for Qantas Tour of New Zealand: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa
There's also a return to Australian colours for Perth Scorchers fast bowlers Jhye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff after lengthy international absences following, respectively, shoulder and back surgeries.
Also included is Ashton Agar, who has been out of action since injuring his calf in Australia's third ODI against India last December and did not feature in the KFC BBL regular season.
It's a rapid rise to Australian selection for Sangha, who was representing his country at the Under-19 World Cup just 12 months ago. He finished the BBL|10 regular season as the competition's joint third-leading wicket-taker with 21 scalps at 16.66 and an impressive economy of 8.04 runs per over.
Those numbers stack up well against the vastly more experienced Adam Zampa, now his national teammate, who collected 19 wickets at 17.47 and an economy rate of 7.35.
"Adam Zampa has developed into one of the best spinners in international white ball cricket and we have been most impressed by Tanveer Sangha, who has been brilliant throughout the pathways and with the Sydney Thunder this season," selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement.
Australian cricket legend Ricky Ponting last week called for Sangha's inclusion but it came with a warning about placing too many expectations on the teenager.
"He's a young bloke who looks like he's pretty confident and in control of what he's doing, and he bowls proper good balls so he might be someone they'd look to get into the system," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
"It's a hard one for young leg-spinners; because they come along quickly and everyone's excited by how good they might be, quite often they're introduced early and they can have a few setbacks after that. But they might have to think about that."
Australia T20 veterans Andrew Tye and Kane Richardson will lead the pace attack, with allrounders Marcus Stoinis, Daniel Sams and Mitchell Marsh all in the squad.
Sams missed the Sydney Thunder's final matches of the BBL|10 regular season with a hand injury after an awkward fall in the field, and Marsh is not yet bowling while he recovers from a side strain, but was in brilliant form with the bat for the Scorchers yesterday.
Almost half of Australia's 19-man squad for the Qantas Test Tour of South Africa have played T20 internationals in the past year – David Warner, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Moises Henriques, Sean Abbott, Alex Carey and Mitchell Swepson – which has opportunities for some new faces.
There will be at least four changes in the Australia XI from the side that won the third T20 against India at the SCG on December 8, where Smith, Henriques, Swepson and Abbott all played.
Ben Oliver, Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager National Teams said picking two squads for concurrent tours is not something that will become common place and underlined the importance of both tours to the boards of New Zealand and South Africa.
"Cricket Australia is committed to playing our role in international cricket while acknowledging the challenges of the pandemic and ensuring the health and safety of our players, staff and community," Oliver said.
"The Australian men's T20I tour of New Zealand and Australian men's Test tour of South Africa are important to both host boards and we have been working constructively with their respective management teams on the planning for both tours.
"We do not envisage replicating concurrent Australian men's tours in the future, but we appreciate the need to do so now to assist our friends around the world during this challenging period for international sport and given the additional time requirements of mandatory quarantine periods."
Wade played all three of those matches against India as wicketkeeper before playing all four Tests against the same opponents. Fellow wicketkeeper-batsman Philippe is the top Australian run-scorer in BBL|10 with 454 at 32.42 with a strike rate of 149.34.
Foreshadowing the selection for this tour, Australia T20 captain Aaron Finch recently said while the concurrent tours was far from ideal, it did allow Australia to broaden its pool of T20 talent with an eye on ending their barren run in T20 World Cups.
"You've got to be planning well ahead for World Cups, so when you've got one in India (2021) and one in Australia (2022) in two years, you have to be doing your talent scouting and seeing who might be able to fill roles should some vacancies turn up," Finch said earlier this month.
"It's an exciting time for Australian cricket. It's probably not ideal having two Australian teams playing at the same time, but it's going to give us a lot of information going forward as well."
Finch himself heads to New Zealand on the back of an horrific BBL|10 season that saw him score 179 runs at 13.76 in his 13 matches, with a top score of just 39, as his side finished bottom of the league with four wins from their 14 matches.
It's the first time since BBL|04 in the 2014-15 summer that he's failed to pass fifty for the Renegades, and the first time ever in a home summer he's failed to reach at least 40 in T20 matches.
There's a recall for Hobart Hurricanes blaster Ben McDermott, who had lost his spot in the Australia T20 side in 2019-20 after poor returns last summer, having tried to change his game into that of a middle-order finisher in a bid to secure an Australian spot.
It's an irony that McDermott has now won his spot back in the Australian side after ditching his plans to fill that role and profiting in a return up the order with the Hurricanes, and with Glenn Maxwell seemingly a lock in Australia's T20 set-up, McDermott. could vie for selection with Ashton Turner.
The Australia squad is set to depart for New Zealand after the BBL|10 finals and will have a fortnight in the country to serve their quarantine and train before the first match begins on February 22.
New Zealand Cricket recently reported the first two matches were already sold out and they are expecting full houses for the final three games, which are double-headers with matches between the New Zealand and England women's teams.
The team will be coached in New Zealand by Australia assistant coach Andrew McDonald, while Justin Langer is with the Test squad in South Africa.
Qantas T20I tour of New Zealand 2021
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.
New Zealand squad: TBC
All matches will be shown live in Australia on Fox Cricket and Kayo