Farrell – taking over from Joe Schmidt after the Rugby World Cup – has opted for two-time Lions tourist Sexton to succeed retired Rory Best as skipper.
The Ireland head coach believes the 34-year-old’s wealth of experience will see him thrive in the role.
“We have appointed Johnny as captain for the Six Nations, you can see what it means to him and the enthusiasm he will bring to the role,” he said.
“He has been developing as a leader for a number of years with Ireland, Leinster and the Lions and he will be a positive voice for the group.”
Sexton, who played in all six Tests across his two Lions Tours, is expected to shake off a knee injury for the opening game of the Championship against Scotland.
The Irish squad is laced with Lions, including Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Jack McGrath, Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Conor Murray and Robbie Henshaw.
Fly-half Billy Burns is one of five first-time call ups and provides cover in the number ten jersey.
Three Leinster players will hope to earn their first international caps after Max Deegan, Caelan Doris and Ronan Kelleher got the nod.
Ireland Head Coach Andy Farrell has named a 35-man squad for the 2020 #GuinnessSixNations, including five uncapped players☘️
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) January 15, 2020
Max Deegan (Lansdowne/Leinster) 0 caps
Caelan Doris (UCD/Leinster) 0 caps
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht) 14 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 41 caps
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 95 caps
Dave Heffernan (Buccaneers/Connacht) 1 cap
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster) 53 caps
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 8 caps
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster) 0 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 36 caps
Jack McGrath (St Mary’s College/Ulster) 56 caps
Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster) 2 caps
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 64 caps
Tom O’Toole (Banbridge/Ulster) 0 caps
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 38 caps
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 67 caps
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster) 23 caps
Will Addison (Enniskillen/Ulster) 4 caps
Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 23 caps
Billy Burns (Ulster) 0 caps
Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) 3 caps
Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 18 caps
John Cooney (Terenure College/Ulster) 8 caps
Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 82 caps
Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 9 caps
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 40 caps
Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 19 caps
Jordan Larmour (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 21 caps
Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 19 caps
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 78 caps
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 28 caps
Jonathan Sexton (St Marys College/Leinster) 88 caps CAPTAIN
Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster) 25 caps
Development players (4):
Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)
Robert Baloucoune (Enniskillen/Ulster)
Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Will Connors (UCD/Leinster).