Sydney [Australia], February 17:  Injured all-rounder Marcus Stoinis has been ruled out of Australia's three-match T20I series against New Zealand due to a back issue, while Aaron Hardie received a call-up in the squad, as ESPNcricinfo reported. Stoinis strained his back during the warm-up for the second T20I against the West Indies in Adelaide last Sunday, but he still managed to play. He played an inning of 16 off 15 with the bat, but he also contributed to Glenn Maxwell's 80-run partnership before taking 3 for 36 to maintain his superb bowling record. Team India Cricketers Wear Black Armbands on Day 2 of IND vs ENG 3rd Test 2024 in Honour of Late Dattajirao Gaekwad

Australia's vice-captain and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is also scheduled to miss the first game of the series on Wednesday in Wellington owing to the birth of his child but is anticipated to return for the remaining two games in Auckland on Friday and Sunday. Hardie is presently playing for Western Australia in a Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania in Hobart and did not travel with the squad on Saturday. He will rejoin the squad before the first match.

Matthew Short, a spin bowling allrounder, is also carrying an injury cloud to New Zealand after sustaining a minor hamstring strain in the ODI series against the West Indies, forcing him to miss the T20Is.Hardie will have the opportunity to make a case for the T20 World Cup as a backup all-rounder who can bat in the middle order if Stoinis sustains further injury problems during the tournament itself.  ‘Incredible Journey To Watch…’, Nathan Lyon Congratulates Ravi Ashwin on Completing 500 Test Wickets (Watch Video).

Veteran batters Steven Smith and Travis Head return to the T20 squad for the New Zealand tour after missing the West Indies series, and they are expected to be handed multiple opportunities in the top three as Australia looks to establish their strongest team for the World Cup. The three-match T20I series between New Zealand and Australia will kick off on February 21 in Wellington. The second and third matches will be played on February 23 and 25, respectively, at Eden Park in Auckland.

Australia's T20 squad to tour New Zealand: Mitchell Marsh (c), Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

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