In wilderness for five years, pacer Shaun Tait today made a stunning return to Australia’s power-packed squad for the three-match Twenty20 series against India while off-spinner Nathan Lyon was brought in for the remaining two ODIs against the visitors.
With one eye on the World Twenty20 in India in March, the Australian selectors named a 17-strong squad for the T20 series against Dhoni’s side starting January 26 in Adelaide.
Before that the last two matches of the ODI series, which the hosts have already sealed by taking a 3-0 lead, will be played on Wednesday and Saturday in Canberra and Sydney respectively.
Australia have opted for Lyon’s services in place of young pacer Joel Paris in the 13-member squad while vice-captain and opener David Warner also returns to the team from paternity leave to replace Usman Khawaja.
Lyon, who last played an ODI for Australia in 2014, has been doing well for his Big Bash side Sydney Sixers and was been rewarded for his fine showing.
“Our choice of Nathan Lyon comes off the back of good form in the KFC BBL (big Bash League) and we decided the time is right to have another look at him in the shorter forms of the game,” said national selector Rod Marsh.
Cricket Australia also made wholesome changes in the T20 squad for the three-match series.
Steven Smith and Warner will play only in the opening match in Adelaide before sitting out in the next two games to prepare for the first ODI against New Zealand on February 3.
The major surprises come in the form of Tait and out-of-favour all-rounder Shane Watson, who last played an ODI in Australian colours in 2015.
“Shane Watson has earned his recall to Australian colours through a combination of his experience, especially in short-form cricket, the all-round package he offers and the fact he is bang in form at the moment, having put performances on the board for the Sydney Thunder,” said Marsh.
“Shaun Tait returns on the basis that he is the quickest bowler going around in Australia at the moment and he offers us that explosive option if we choose to use it,” the former player added.