Veteran allrounder Dan Christian is set to return from almost four years in exile, while fellow Sydney Sixers star Josh Philippe will also have a chance to enhance his case for Twenty20 World Cup selection.
Australia start a five-match T20 series against West Indies in St Lucia on Saturday morning (AEST), while they will play a further five T20s in Bangladesh next month.
The games are key tune-ups for the T20 World Cup in October and November, when coach Justin Langer expects some “pretty worn wickets” given the UAE is also hosting the end of this year’s Indian Premier League.
The 10 T20s will also serve as a selection showdown, with Christian and Philippe among those vying for World Cup spots. Christian has not played for Australia since 2017 but the 38-year-old’s form in several T20 leagues is set to finally be rewarded.
“I’ve been in the job three years and every time he gets some runs in any game or competition around the world, he texts me,” Langer said. “Says ‘coach I’m ready to go, pick me, I’m the best allrounder in Australia’.
“It’s great to have him in the team. In the past, we’ve had senior players like Brad Hogg, who have come in really late and had an impact. I can’t wait to watch.”
Earlier this year, Philippe made his T20 debut as a top-order batsman in New Zealand. The 24-year-old will be redeployed in the middle order during the coming week, while Matthew Wade will retain the gloves.
“David Warner and Aaron Finch up the top of the order and set in stone for the World Cup, then there’s some huge opportunities coming up. It’s going to be interesting to see how it works out,” Langer said.
Langer downplayed the prospect of stars being snubbed from the T20 World Cup after skipping the current tour, noting “some of the guys who are back in Australia, they’ve got lots of credits in the bank”.
Cricket Australia is yet to make a call on whether players – especially World Cup squad members – will be allowed to take part in the rebooted IPL.
“We’ll look at each case and see how it all works out. It depends when we select our World Cup squad. We’ll look at our domestic schedule,” Langer said.