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Australia still confident ahead of World T20

January 31, 2016 11:18 IST


IMAGE: Australia’s T20I captain Aaron Finch is nursing an injury and will be replaced by Usman Khawaja for the third T20I against India. Photograph: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images.

Australia remain optimistic about their Twenty20 World Cup campaign despite being shown up in all facets by India in the opening two matches of their current series.

With Steve Smith leading an advanced party to New Zealand for the forthcoming ODI series, the Australians have made more changes to their XI, with Shane Watson to lead the side after skipper Aaron Finch suffered a hamstring injury in Friday night's second T20 defeat.

In-form top-order batsman Usman Khawaja comes into the squad as Finch's replacement, and will likely open the batting alongside Shaun Marsh.

Finch is awaiting scan results and the Australia camp is bullish he will be able to return before the start of the World Cup in India on March 8.

Cameron Bancroft will also make his T20 international debut in place of wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, who is already in New Zealand ahead of Wednesday's first ODI.

Australia's best XI looks far from settled and the side is desperate to gather momentum after twice being comprehensively beaten by India – by 37 runs in Adelaide and 27 runs in Melbourne.

Stand-in Australian coach Michael Di Venuto described the defeats as just a bump in the road.

Di Venuto said the selectors were using the series to look at certain players – and would use the coming one-dayers against the Kiwis to do the same – and there were plenty of positives as the side chased the only ICC event to escape their grasp.

"We've had quite a few debutants so far throughout the series," Di Venuto said. "We've got some players resting or heading to New Zealand to prepare for that.

"The makeup of our side might be completely different. We'll just have to see what the selectors come up with."

Khawaja's omission from the original squad was a surprising one after his successful summer with the Test team and a blistering Big Bash for the Sydney Thunder, in which he averaged 172.5.

Finch's injury leaves the door ajar for the Queensland opener to make his case to be a three-form Australia representative.

"When I didn't get picked in the one-day team I didn't get too worried," Khawaja said. "There's a lot of cricket coming up. I was really happy with how I was hitting the ball."

Meanwhile, Di Venuto will stand in for Darren Lehmann during Australia's one-day series in New Zealand starting next week.

Lehmann, who was sidelined after being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis a week ago, is a chance to return for the Test portion of the series.