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Warner Withdrawal Paves Way for Steve Smith as Opener in Australia-India T20 Series; Squads Announced

Warner Withdrawal Paves Way for Steve Smith as Opener in Australia-India T20 Series; Squads Announced

The selectors have removed David Warner from Australia’s Twenty20 series against India, allowing Steve Smith to trial as an opener for the forthcoming World Cup. Warner’s exclusion, granting him rest before his final Test series against Pakistan, adds to the series’ lack of attention amidst a congested cricket calendar.

Commencing in Visakhapatnam shortly after India’s loss to Australia in the 50-over World Cup final, the series spans five matches across various Indian cities. Australia, unfamiliar with venues like Thiruvananthapuram and Barsapara, will conclude its 26-match Indian stint in 2023, which includes Tests, ODIs, and a bilateral series.

Warner’s replacement by Aaron Hardie offers a chance for him and Tanveer Sangha to impress potential IPL franchises. The series marks the preliminary preparation phase for the 2024 T20 World Cup, though both Australia and India’s squads predominantly lack players from the previous 20-over event.

Despite key absences like their primary fast bowlers and Mitch Marsh, Australia anticipates laying the groundwork for future tournaments. Smith’s aspiration to open the batting, now likely with Travis Head, poses competition among Head, Marsh, and Warner for the top-order spots.

The squads consist of:

Australia: Matthew Wade (c), Aaron Hardie, Jason Behrendorff, Sean Abbott, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

India: Suryakumar Yadav (c), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Shivam Dube, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar, Shreyas Iyer (last two matches only).

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