Mitch Marsh earns chance to captain before T20 World Cup call

Selectors are giving Mitch Marsh a shot at captaincy ahead of Pat Cummins before the T20 World Cup.

Selectors are giving Mitch Marsh a shot at captaincy ahead of Pat Cummins before the T20 World Cup. Photo: Getty

Mitch Marsh is set to be given the chance to captain Australia’s Twenty20 side ahead of Pat Cummins as selectors weigh up their leadership options for June’s World Cup.

Marsh was on Wednesday confirmed as Australia’s captain for three T20s against West Indies at home next month, with Cummins and Steve Smith both rested.

Officials are, however, also planning on keeping Marsh in charge for the T20 series in New Zealand shortly after where both Cummins and Smith are expected to return.

Australia is still undecided on who will lead the team in the format, with no full-time captain since Aaron Finch’s 2022 retirement.

Marsh captained in South Africa last year while Cummins was out but did not have a chance to work with coach Andrew McDonald, who was also missing.

McDonald will again sit out the T20s against West Indies but will return to the helm to work alongside Marsh in New Zealand next month.

Matt Wade also captained Australia in recent months while in India in December, leaving Australia with three genuine options for the leadership.

“We’ll make a decision about that post after the New Zealand series,” chief selector George Bailey said.

“We’re certainly interested in just exploring Mitch Marsh getting that opportunity for a while longer.

“One thing we are conscious of Mitch hasn’t had a chance to work yet with Andrew MacDonald as coach.

“We’re confident that’ll work, but we just haven’t seen it yet.”

Bailey believes it is likely the idea of changing captains will remain in white-ball cricket, with selectors only likely to lock in a full-time leader close to major events.

The chief selector also insisted Smith’s omission from the T20 squad to face West Indies does not suggest he faces an uphill battle to make the World Cup.

Selectors want to have a look at Josh Inglis, Matt Short and Travis Head as options to partner Warner at the top, each vying with Smith for that role.

Any of the group could bat further down the order, but Marsh appears a lock at No.3 and Smith’s most likely way into the side is as an opener.

Making the task more difficult for Smith is the fact he does not have an IPL contract, meaning the three matches in New Zealand will be the last chance for him to stake his claim.

“He’s likely to return for that New Zealand series in some capacity, so he’ll continue to get opportunities,” Bailey said.

“We are trying to create opportunities for some players in some different spots across these six games.

“So there will be some shifting around and the versatility, flexibility, agility of players to be able to change their role is really important.”

Bailey also said Cameron Green remained a chance for the World Cup squad if he impresses in the IPL, while a line is not through Ashton Agar with Australia likely to take two spinners to the Caribbean.

Australia T20 squad

Mitch Marsh (capt), Sean Abbott, Jason Behrendorff, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.


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