CRICKET: Michael Klinger will make a belated international debut at the ripe old age of 36 after being named in Australia's T20 squad to face Sri Lanka later this month.
Klinger heads a 13-man squad which also ends a six-year international hiatus for wicketkeeper Tim Paine - whose selection casts doubt over the future of the recently dumped Test keeper Peter Nevill.
"(Klinger) has been a very good player in this form of the game for some time now," said interim National Selector Trevor Hohns.
"He has a history of strong performances in T20 competitions in the UK and in the BBL, including the match-winning innings for the Perth Scorchers to secure this year's BBL title."
The squad includes four uncapped players - West Australian youngsters Jhye Richardson and Ashton Turner, Queensland quick Billy Stanlake, who made his one-day debut against Pakistan last month, and Klinger.
Victorian Aaron Finch will captain the squad, which includes the excitement machine Chris Lynn - pending a fitness test on the star batsman's injured neck - and pace sensation Pat Cummins.
With the T20 series overlapping Australia's Test series with India, a number of first-choice selections for the team were unavailable - including captain and vice-captain Steve Smith and David Warner, fast-bowling pair Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood and gloveman Matthew Wade.
"With Australia currently ranked number six in this format and with a number of our frontline players preparing for the India Test series, we have chosen a squad with a good blend of experience combined with several younger players in an effort to improve our performance and therefore our ICC T20 ranking," Hohns said.
Despite Klinger's well-deserved call-up, the squad has a youthful feel as it looks to build towards the 2020 T20 World Cup.
"The influence of younger players in this squad also gives us the opportunity to look forward to the ICC World T20, which is being hosted here in Australia in 2020," Hohns added.
"The overall standards being set in the BBL are very high and many of these players are making a good impression, but consistency was key for the selectors on this occasion.
"Tim Paine has been included as the batsman/wicketkeeper, adding to the more experienced players like captain Finch, (Moises) Henriques, (James) Faulkner and (Andrew) Tye, all of whom have consistent success across multiple summers of the BBL, as well as experience on the international stage.
"Both Travis Head and Chris Lynn were exceptional with the bat this summer and Chris's selection will depend on his fitness. He is due to see a specialist later this week and we will take into account that advice ahead of this series.
"Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, Jhye Richardson and Billy Stanlake round off the bowlers in the squad, all maintaining a balance of excellent economy and wickets in this format, which is essential for a winning side."
Squad: Aaron Finch (c), Pat Cummins, James Faulkner, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Michael Klinger, Chris Lynn, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Billy Stanlake, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa
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