Blackcaps v Australia: Mitchell Marsh named to captain Aussies in T20 series against New Zealand

Mitchell Marsh in whiteball action for Australia.
Mitchell Marsh in whiteball action for Australia. Photo credit: Getty Images

Mitchell Marsh looks poised to lead Australia into this year's Twenty20 World Cup, after being named captain of a full-strength squad for a three-match series in New Zealand this month - the team's last before June's global showpiece.

Aaron Finch, who led Australia to their first T20 World Cup triumph in 2021, retired as captain in the shortest format a year ago, but Cricket Australia has yet to formally anoint his successor.

Test and one-day skipper Pat Cummins is one of the big-name players returning to the squad, after being rested for the upcoming home series against West Indies, but Marsh will retain the captaincy for the matches at Auckland and Wellington.

First-choice batsmen Travis Head and Steve Smith, and left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc return, along with Cummins, in the 15-man squad for the series, which begins at Wellington Stadium on February 21, before two matches at Auckland's Eden Park.

"The next six games will provide us the opportunity to start shaping what we think our World Cup squad will look like and potential roles within that," said head selector George Bailey.

"We will also fully utilise the opportunity to monitor and watch the performances of the Australian players in the [Indian Premier League] immediately preceding the World Cup."

Matt Short, one of the batters hoping to replace Finch at the top of the order, was included in the squad, despite a low-grade hamstring injury that ruled him out of the West Indies series.

Pace bowler Nathan Ellis is recovering from a rib injury and Spencer Johnson is on standby to replace him in the squad for the West Indies series, should he need more time to be ready for the trip to New Zealand.

Australia take on West Indies in a three-match T20 series starting at Hobart on Friday, as part of their preparations for the June 1-29 World Cup in the Caribbean and United States.

Squad: Mitchell Marsh (captain), Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa