Sydney: Steve Smith and David Warner completed their return from the wilderness on Tuesday when Australia recalled them to a 14-man T20 international squad to play Sri Lanka and Pakistan with a firm eye on next year's World Cup.
The star batsmen were both banned for a year for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal but have returned to Australia's Test, ODI and now T20 sides.
"We are delighted to welcome Steve Smith and David Warner back into the T20 international fold," chief selector Trevor Hohns said. "Steve is a world-class batsman in all formats, while Warner is Australia's highest ever T20I runs scorer. He was also the leading runs scorer at this year's Indian Premier League with Sunrisers Hyderabad," he added.
The T20 squad named on Tuesday will face Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the coming weeks but Hohns said the focus was firmly on next year's World Cup, which will be held in Australia.
"It is almost a year to the day until Australia hosts the men's T20 World Cup and we have selected this squad with that in mind," he said. "We have looked to put a squad together that we think can take us through to that tournament," he added.
Despite their success in other formats, Australia have never won a T20 World Cup, with an appearance in the 2010 final their best showing.
They are currently ranked fifth in the world but will be desperate to succeed on home soil in October-November next year. Aaron Finch retains the skipper's armband, with wicketkeeper Alex Carey and paceman Pat Cummins sharing vice-captain duties.
Ashton Turner returns from a finger injury to bolster the batting, while Adam Zampa edged out Nathan Lyon as the preferred spinner. Cummins and Mitchell Starc will likely open the bowling attack, backed up by Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson and Billy Stanlake.
The three-match series against Sri Lanka will begin in Adelaide on 27 October, followed by another three T20 internationals against Pakistan opening on 3 November in Sydney.
Aaron Finch (capt), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
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RCB in their statement said they respect the decision of the players and 'offer them complete support.'
Cricket Australia pledged 50,000 Australian dollars to support India's fight against the devastating second wave and said it will also raise more funds in partnership with its players' association and UNICEF.
Cummins said he was donating the amount to specifically help with the oxygen crisis confronting some states in India, besides the national capital, New Delhi.