Aaron Finch

Opening batsman Aaron Finch will lead Australia in the absence of regular captain Steve Smith in next month’s three-match Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka, the country’s cricket board said on Tuesday.

Finch, who was Australia’s T20 captain before Smith was handed the reins in all three formats last year, will take charge of an inexperienced side shorn of players named in the squad for the four-test series in India.

Sri Lanka recently won a three-match T20 series 2-1 in South Africa and will face Australia in the first match in Melbourne on Feb. 17.

Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Matthew Wade are all unavailable for selection as they continue preparations for the challenging tour of the South Asian Country.

“It’s very exciting to be back and leading the side in Steve’s absence,” the 30-year-old said in a Cricket Australia statement.

“It’s been a roller-coaster 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.”

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