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Head named for Australia

Cricket

Big-hitting South Australian captain Travis Head has earned a first ODI call up for Australia in the June tri-series in the Caribbean as selectors look ahead to the 2019 World Cup title defence.

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The 22-year-old batsman and part-time bowler is very much a player of interest to the selectors, having already gained a T20 international debut this year with impressive Big Bash League efforts and been recently named Sheffield Shield player of the year.

Head was included in the 16-man Australian squad named this morning for the tri-series against South Africa and hosts West Indies.

It marked a bittersweet day for the young Redback, as Victorian Marcus Stoinis hit him for four sixes in a single over, as the Bushrangers motored to a Sheffield Shield title on the final day of play.

Head’s national inclusion comes after Shaun Marsh was not considered because of the impending birth of his first child.

“Travis has put in some match-winning performances in all three formats of the game this summer,” said chairman of selectors Rod Marsh.

“He is an exciting young batsman with a bright future and if he gets his opportunity I have no doubt he will make the most of it.”

Champion paceman Mitchell Starc will make his expected and long-awaited return to spearhead Australia’s attack in the June series.

Out of action for four months since overdue ankle surgery, left-armer Starc was sorely missed as Australia failed to reach the World T20 semi-finals in India this month.

“Mitchell has progressed very well in his rehab and the medical staff are confident he will be fit to play in this series,” Marsh said.

“It is extremely pleasing to have a bowler of his calibre back in the side.”

Test offspinner Nathan Lyon, overlooked for the World T20, has been given another chance to shine in the canary yellow after being included alongside legspinner Adam Zampa.

“Nathan has bowled very well in the West Indies in the past and we are predicting we will see some slow, turning pitches,” Marsh said.

Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, who was dropped for this month’s T20 tournament, will be back behind the stumps.

Along with Head, skipper Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja and George Bailey were the other batsmen included in the big touring party.

“It is a slightly larger squad than normal to provide extra cover due to the time it takes to send a player from Australia to the Caribbean should there be an injury,” Marsh said.

“This squad has nine players from the 2015 World Cup winning squad and provides us with a lot of depth.”

Pacemen Josh Hazlewood, John Hastings and Nathan Coulter-Nile were all picked, while automatic allrounder selections Glenn Maxwell, Mitch Marsh and James Faulkner round out the squad.

Australia’s 16-man squad: Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, George Bailey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

-AAP

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