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  5. Steve Smith to open in T20Is? Selector reveals Australia's big T20 World Cup 2024 plan starting with SA series

Steve Smith to open in T20Is? Selector reveals Australia's big T20 World Cup 2024 plan starting with SA series

Australia announced a young squad for the South Africa T20Is, the first time since Aaron Finch's retirement with David Warner being rested for the shortest format. Steve Smith stayed in the T20I side in a big surprise for many.

New Delhi
Published on: August 08, 2023 22:19 IST
Steve Smith played five matches in the Big Bash League
Image Source : GETTY Steve Smith played five matches in the Big Bash League 2022-23 and lit up the tournament

Australia's transition in T20Is has begun with the announcement of the squad for the upcoming three-match series against South Africa. Australia, who will be playing their first game since the T20 World Cup 2022 which was the last for former skipper Aaron Finch, named Mitchell Marsh as the new captain of the T20I side for the South Africa series but could be a permanent choice as well.

While most of the first-choice players for the World Cup have been given extra rest before the ODI series including skipper Pat Cummins, David Warner and Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith has been given an opportunity in the shortest format. Smith, who is mostly known for his solidity in ODIs and Test matches lit up the 2022-23 edition of the Big Bash League with some outstanding ball-striking in just five matches he played.

Smith smashed 346 runs in just five matches including two centuries and struck at a whopping 174. Chief selector George Bailey said that Australia will try him as an opener in Souith Africa T20Is, with an eye on the T20 World Cup next year in the West Indies and the USA.

“He’ll open in South Africa and I guess he’s the one guy out of those multi-format players who is heading across that we wanted to give him that opportunity," Bailey said after announcing the squad on Monday, August 7. “It was pretty exhilarating, his innings in the Big Bash, and highlighted his skillset and what he can do.

“The way he played in the Big Bash, that’s something we want to see replicated internationally, so it’s important that he gets an opportunity to have a crack at that. He was really keen to come across and be a part of that," he added.

Australia named three uncapped players in the T20 squad and will be hoping to give a strong South African side a run for their money.

Australia squad for SA T20Is: Mitchell Marsh (C), Sean Abbott, Jason Behrendorff, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Aaron Hardie, Travis Head, Josh Inglis (wk), Spencer Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa

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