Australia on Monday named a 13-man squad for the lone Twenty20 International against Pakistan in Melbourne on Friday, drafting specialist players for the shortest format, including two new faces, in view of the T20 World Cup in the West Indies in May.
The National Selection Panel (NSP) picked a radically different outfit from the one-day squad. Twenty20 specialists Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait and David Warner figured in the squad which has new faces in Travis Birt and Steve Smith.
Michael Clarke will captain the team with Cameron White as vice-captain in a group that does not feature Michael Hussey, Peter Siddle, Nathan Hauritz, James Hopes, Clint McKay or Adam Voges.
NSP chairman Andrew Hilditch said the squad was picked in view of the T20 World Cup in June.
"The Australian team has five Twenty20 Internationals prior to the World Twenty20 in the West Indies and the NSP has picked this squad with a view to continuing our preparation of the team for this key tournament whilst looking at several new players ahead of the World Cup," he said in a CA statement.
"In selecting this squad, the NSP has taken into account performances of players in international T20 matches, KFC T20 Big Bash and also the correct balance of the side to be able to implement our plans for T20 cricket going into the World Cup. There are significant changes between the one-day and T20 side as we look at several players who could play a key role in our World Twenty20 campaign," Hilditch added.
Commenting on the inclusion of specialist T20 players and the new faces, Hilditch said, "The NSP has always regarded Twenty20 cricket as a separate form of the game and this selection has highlighted some players who we think can have an impact in Twenty20 cricket such as Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait, David Warner, Travis Birt and Steve Smith."
"Travis Birt has shown really good form for several seasons now and we have picked him for a specific role in the middle order in the T20 side. Steve Smith is an extremely exciting prospect and performed well for NSW in the Champions League T20 and KFC T20 Big Bash and gives us great flexibility with his ability to bowl leg spin, bat and field.
"Ryan Harris also is someone who has been in the plans of the NSP for the World Twenty20. Ryan's chances have been limited by injury but he's now back to full fitness and playing very well."
Squad: Michael Clarke (captain), Cameron White (vice-captain), Travis Birt, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, David Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Dirk Nannes, Steven Smith, Shaun Tait, David Warner, Shane Watson.