Big-name withdrawals hurt T20 Cup preps

Steve Smith will miss Australia's two white-ball tours before the T20 World Cup with an elbow injury while David Warner and Pat Cummins are unavailable.

STEVE SMITH.
STEVE SMITH. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Australia's Twenty20 World Cup preparations have hit turbulence with Steve Smith ruled out of two warm-up tours.

Smith will miss the white-ball tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh because of an elbow injury.

And David Warner, Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell add to the absent starpower in the Australian side in the lead-up to October's World Cup after their withdrawals.

Marcus Stoinis, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson and Daniel Sams were also missing when Cricket Australia named an 18-man squad on Wednesday.

Chief selector Trevor Hohns revealed that Australia's squad was all but decided at the start of the year, but the withdrawals opened the door for potential bolters.

He also admitted he could see why fans would be frustrated that players signed up for the IPL but have since withdrawn from international commitments in quarantine hubs.

"I certainly can understand that," Hohns said.

"However that is out of our control. And if a player wishes to make themselves unavailable that is his prerogative to do so.

"We can't force them to go on a tour but what we can say to them is they are giving someone else an opportunity.

"It's a little bit frustrating (for them not to tour before the World Cup) but we have to respect and understand the reasons for not making themselves available at this time."

Hohns said he expected the absentees to make themselves available for Australian commitments ahead of any rescheduled IPL later in the year.

Australia don't have another tour before the World Cup, but several warm-up games are expected in either India or whichever country hosts the tournament.

Smith is believed to have wanted to tour, but medicos ruled him out with fears the tennis elbow in his left arm would continue into the Ashes summer if he didn't rest.

While Warner and Cummins are certainties to be selected, the withdrawals of Maxwell and Stoinis opens the door for Dan Christian and Moises Henriques to make their case.

Aaron Finch will captain the squad during the tours, while Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Alex Carey and Matt Wade will all figure.

Pace bowler Wes Agar is aiming for an international debut while touring with brother Ashton and Ben McDermott is also included.

The squad is due to depart on June 28 for five T20s and three ODIs in the West Indies, while five T20s in Bangladesh are due to follow dependent on COVID-19 conditions.

"CA has maintained from the start of the pandemic that we would support players or staff members through the additional demands placed upon them by hubs and quarantine," chief medico Alex Kountouris said.

"We look forward to a time when hubs and quarantines are things of the past, but for now we will continue to manage the situation as best we can with the wellbeing of our people at the forefront of our decision-making."

AUSTRALIA'S 18-MAN WHITE-BALL SQUAD

Aaron Finch (capt), Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitch Marsh, Riley Meredith, Ben McDermott, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa. Reserves: Tanveer Sangha, Nathan Ellis.