No room for in-form Marnus in T20 opener

Marnus Labuschagne, who posted a Twenty20 ton in an intra-squad clash, is set to be left on the sidelines in Australia's Twenty20 series opener against England.

MARNUS LABUSCHAGNE of Australia during the Specsavers Ashes Test between England and Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.
MARNUS LABUSCHAGNE of Australia during the Specsavers Ashes Test between England and Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Marnus Labuschagne's wait for his first Twenty20 international is set to continue when Australia confronts England in what could be a preview of next year's World Cup final.

Labuschagne bolstered his bid to become a three-format threat with a 51-ball century in Australia's final intra-squad clash.

It was a stunning performance that paceman Kane Richardson noted had one shocked teammate likening Labuschagne to a "mini AB de Villiers".

But captain Aaron Finch has confirmed the dazzling knock is unlikely to be enough to secure Labuschagne a start in the series opener, which begins at 3am AEST on Saturday in Southampton.

"We're pretty settled on the way we structure up our T20 side at the moment," Finch said.

"Marnus played beautifully the other day ... but he might have to wait a little bit longer in T20 cricket."

Finch was unwilling to divulge the XI that will seek to cement Australia in top spot on the world T20 rankings.

Glenn Maxwell is expected to be recalled, while Richardson, Josh Hazlewood and AJ Tye are vying to partner Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc in the pace attack.

This year's T20 World Cup in Australia has been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the next edition of the tournament slated for 2021 in India.

Finch suggested the change in location will not alter Australia's squad planning for the event, which will develop further in coming days when the rivals square off in a three-match series.

"I hope it's a preview (of the World Cup final)," Finch said.

"They've played great cricket in shorter formats for a few years now, obviously 50-over world champions."

Finch argued last year's ODI World Cup semi-final, when England crushed his team, would have no bearing on Australia during their first game in almost six months.

"They blew us out of the water," he said.

"It was a tough day, but still a different format. So we aren't holding any scars over that, I can guarantee."

The latest episode of cricket's most intense rivalry will be unique, played in biosecurity bubbles and in front of empty stands because of the health crisis.

"Regardless of who you're playing in front of or where you're playing, I think you could play it in the street and it (the England-Australia rivalry) would still be there," Finch said.

Meanwhile, Finch revealed he has told counterpart Eoin Morgan that Australia will not take a knee before the series opener.

West Indies and England both adopted the protest earlier this year as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.

"The education around this is more important than a protest," Finch said.