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Australia’s Warner, coach Langer to sit out Sri Lanka T20 series

Opening batsman David Warner and coach Justin Langer will skip Australia’s Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka, it was announced Tuesday, with Ben McDermott set for an extended run at the top of the order.

World Cup hero Mitchell Marsh will also miss the five matches in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne from February 11, reports AFP.

All three have been given leave to prepare ahead of Australia’s three-format tour of Pakistan scheduled for March.

“This squad will begin preparation for the T20 World Cup defence at home later this year and includes several players who have an early chance to impress in these five matches against a quality opposition,” said chief selector George Bailey.

That includes Big Bash League star McDermott, Travis Head, Jhye Richardson and Moises Henriques who were all additions to the group that won the World Cup last year.

“I don’t think that I was ready to play for Australia (before), but I do feel ready now,” McDermott told reporters Tuesday after a breakout Big Bash League season for the Hobart Hurricanes. “I feel like I’m at the top of my game.”

Josh Hazlewood returns after missing the last four Tests of the recent Ashes series against England with a side injury.

Andrew McDonald will act as head coach in Langer’s absence.

Australia squad: Aaron Finch (capt), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Josh Inglis, Ben McDermott, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.