Aaron Finch will lead Australia in their upcoming Twenty20 international series against Sri Lanka in the absence of captain Steven Smith and vice-captain David Warner. The remainder of Australia's T20 squad will be named on Wednesday morning, and there will be plenty of space for fresh faces due to the timing clash with Australia's Test tour of India.
Smith, Warner, Mitchell Starc, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Marsh are among the players who will be preparing for the Test series and therefore unavailable. Australia find themselves in the highly unusual situation of playing a T20 international - the final match in the series against Sri Lanka - in Adelaide on February 22, and a Test in India the following day.
The cramped fixture has left some members of Australia's team unhappy; Warner notably described it as "very, very poor scheduling". However, the situation means that Finch will take over the captaincy for the three-match series, a year after he lost the T20 captaincy to Smith as Australia sought to unite the leadership in all three formats.
"It's very exciting to be back and leading the side in Steve's absence," said Finch, who also led Australia in Monday's ODI against New Zealand in Auckland after stand-in skipper Matthew Wade was a late withdrawal due to injury.
"It's been a rollercoaster from being captain leading up to the ICC World Twenty20 (in 2016), being injured and then Steve taking over the reins for that tournament but it's something that, any time you get the chance to captain your country in any format, you're very chuffed about.
"We'll be missing some big names, some of the biggest in world cricket, but you can't dwell on that and it will be a fantastic opportunity for guys who've performed well in the KFC Big Bash League to push their case for further inclusion, and inclusion in the other formats too."
Interim national selector Trevor Hohns said: "In the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner amongst others, we believe Aaron is the logical choice to lead the side. He's done it before and he has a great deal of experience in the format as both a captain and a batsman.
"When the squad is selected for this series we, as selectors, will obviously have one eye on the present and also one eye on the future, with the next ICC World Twenty20 scheduled to take place in Australia. The KFC Big Bash League has given us the opportunity to see plenty of exciting talent and it means we will have plenty to consider when we chose the players to join Aaron in the squad."
The Test tour of India not only robs Australia of several of its best players but also of its coaching staff. Justin Langer will step in as acting head coach for the Sri Lanka series, with Ricky Ponting and Jason Gillespie as his assistants. The series begins at the MCG on February 17 and also incorporates the first ever men's international match in Geelong.