Australia have announced a 17-man squad for the four-match Test series against India. The squad includes as many as five uncapped players as the selectors have rewarded players for consistent performances in the Sheffield Shield.
Will Pucovski and Cameron Green have been rewarded for their prolific run with the bat in the domestic arena. Green has been making headlines for a couple of seasons now and this season, he has already amassed 363 runs in six innings. Meanwhile, Pucovski seems to have broken down the selection door as he smashed two double hundreds in as many games in on-going Sheffield Shield. He could well slot in the opener’s role with Joe Burns looking out of form.
“What we saw in the opening rounds of the Marsh Sheffield Shield were a number of players performing exceptionally well. Two of those many standout players were, of course, Cameron Green and Will Pucovski. Their undeniable form demanded selection and we are very pleased to have these young men in the squad for what will be a tremendous Test Series against an extremely formidable opponent,” national selector Trevor Hohns was quoted saying on Thursday (November 12th).
Mitchell Swepson, Sean Abbott and Michael Neser are the other uncapped players named in the 17-man line-up. Swepson is the leading wicket-taker so far in this season’s Shield games – 23 wickets in three games. He is the only other spinner in the squad apart from Nathan Lyon. Meanwhile, Abbot and Neser have been consistent performers for some time now and are a part of the six-man fast bowling group alongside Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson.
The rest of the squad wore an expected look with Tim Paine leading the side. Pat Cummins will be the only vice-captain for this series.
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy starts on the 17th of December with a historic day-night Test match at the Adelaide Oval. The caravan will move to the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the Boxing Day Test before the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and the Gabba host the New Year’s Test and fourth Test respectively.
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner
The selectors have also named a strong Australia ‘A’ squad which will face India in two three-day games in the lead-up to the Test series. As many as nine players from the Test squad have been named in this 19-member Australia ‘A’ side.
The first of those warm-up games will be a red-ball fixture and it will be played between December 6-8. The second one will be played with the pink-ball under lights and it is scheduled to be played between December 11-13.
Australia A squad: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Joe Burns, Jackson Bird, Alex Carey (wk), Harry Conway, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh (subject to fitness), Michael Neser, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Mark Steketee, Will Sutherland, Mitchell Swepson