Australia have gone back to the future by selecting ageing veterans Brad Hogg, Brad Hodge and Brad Haddin in their squad for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next month.
The three Brads combine for 118 years of experience in the 15-man squad, dismissing the notion that T20 cricket is a young man’s game.
Hogg, 43, is set to become the oldest player in the history of international T20 cricket, while 39-year-old Hodge has been rewarded for smashing 219 runs at 36.5 for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League.
Test wicketkeeper Haddin, 36, continues to ripen with age, selected to replace Matt Wade behind the stumps.
Shane Watson, David Warner and Mitchell Johnson join Haddin as the other Test players who will stay on in South Africa for warm-up T20 internationals leading into the World T20, which kicks off for Australia on March 23.
Allrounder James Faulkner has been picked in anticipation he will recover from knee surgery in time, while Mitchell Starc has been selected after returning from his own injury problems in style in Australia’s T20 clean-sweep of England in January.
George Bailey will lead the squad in Bangladesh, with Australia shooting for their first ever World Twenty20 title after four unsuccessful attempts.
“We have selected a squad that has plenty of experience playing the Twenty20 format in the sub-continent,” said chair of the national selection panel, John Inverarity.
“We have a group with good depth in power hitting and a range of bowling options.”
The old will partner the new in the spin department for Australia in the sub-continental conditions, with rookie Victorian legspinner James Muirhead picked alongside Hogg for his first major international tournament.
Muirhead, 20, was a stand-out in Australia’s thrashing of England, while Hogg made his return to the international stage on the back of another strong Big Bash League summer for premiers’ the Perth Scorchers.
Hogg could eclipses Kenyan Steve Tikolo (42) as the oldest Twenty20 international in history.
“Brad Hogg comes into the squad as the other frontline spinner,” Inverarity said.
“Once again Brad bowled very well for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League and many batsmen found him difficult to read.
“Despite his age, his enthusiasm and fitness are undiminished.
“We were highly impressed with James Muirhead who displayed a good temperament, excellent control and a leg-break that turns significantly.”
Glenn Maxwell, Dan Christian and Cameron White join Faulkner in providing excellent allround ability.
Faulkner’s rehabilitation will be monitored ahead of the team leaving for South Africa, but Inverarity expects the 23-year-old will be passed fit.
Australia will have some tough decisions to make in regards to their batting order, with Warner, Aaron Finch and White all capable of opening.
Hodge has been one of Australian cricket’s most unlucky men over the years, despite possessing a brilliant domestic record across all formats.
Inverarity admits his inclusion is just reward for consistency over a long period.
“Brad Hodge has made a great number of Twenty20 runs on the sub-continent and played many match-defining innings there,” he said.
“He will provide the squad with a great deal of calm experience and knowledge.
“His inclusion is just reward for his outstanding performances in this form of the game over many seasons.”
George Bailey (capt, Hobart Hurricanes), Dan Christian (Brisbane Heat), Nathan Coulter-Nile (Perth Scorchers), James Faulkner (Melbourne Stars), Aaron Finch (Melbourne Renegades), Brad Haddin (Sydney Sixers), Brad Hodge (Melbourne Stars), Brad Hogg (Perth Scorchers), Glenn Maxwell (Melbourne Stars), James Muirhead (Melbourne Stars), Mitchell Johnson (Brisbane Heat), Mitchell Starc (Sydney Sixers), David Warner (Sydney Thunder), Shane Watson (Brisbane Heat), Cameron White (Melbourne Stars).
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