Australia have announced two parallel squads for the Test series against South Africa, which is pretty important from their World Test Championship final qualification perspective, and New Zealand T20Is which will precede the Test tour.
Even though the South Africa tour “remains subject to satisfactory biosecurity arrangements”, Cricket Australia have made it a point to state that their preparation should remain tough. The National Selection Panel have picked the best possible Test side, with Matthew Wade being dropped from the squad to be available for the Kiwi sojourn.
The Test side has as many as multiple uncapped players in Sean Abbott, Michael Neser, Mitchell Swepson and Mark Steketee while Alex Carey will also travel as a back-up for Tim Paine. The quality of the Test side hasn’t been compromised despite the series loss to a depleted Indian side at home.
“The Australian men’s T20I tour of New Zealand and Australian men’s Test tour of South Africa are important to both host boards and we have been working constructively with their respective management teams on the planning for both tours,” Ben Oliver, Cricket Australia’s Executive General Manager, National Teams, said.
“We do not envisage replicating concurrent Australian men’s tours in the future, but we appreciate the need to do so now to assist our friends around the world during this challenging period for international sport and given the additional time requirements of mandatory quarantine periods.”
Wade had a pretty disappointing series against India, scoring just 173 runs at an average of just 21.62. He was made to open in a couple of Tests before returning to the middle-order role where he played ahead of Travis Head. But that didn’t pay any dividends.
“The squad is quite similar to that selected for the final two Tests of the recently-completed Border-Gavaskar series, with the exception of Matt Wade, who will join the Australian men’s T20I squad in New Zealand, and the addition of Alex Carey, who has been in strong form with both bat and gloves,” Trevor Hohns, the national selector, said.
“David Warner, Will Pucovski, and Marcus Harris all opened at different stages against India and should be well-suited to the conditions in South Africa. Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith were in good form during the Australian summer and Travis Head has an opportunity to reclaim the No. 5 spot.
“We’ve been very impressed with Cameron Green’s first foray into Test cricket as an all-rounder batting at No. 6 and we have great depth with the in-form Moises Henriques also in the squad. Tim Paine was excellent at No.7 against India and as a batsman, wicket keeper and captain still has much to offer in the Test arena.”
In the T20I side, Jhye Richardson has made a comeback to the set-up having played his last game for Australia in February 2019. His impressive performances in the Big Bash with 27 wickets in 14 matches was the major factor behind recall while Tanveer Sangha, who has 21 wickets from 14 games, has also received a recall.
“Adam Zampa has developed into one of the best spinners in international white-ball cricket and we have been most impressed by Tanveer Sangha, who has been brilliant throughout the pathways and with the Sydney Thunder this season.
“We are similarly buoyant about our fast bowling stocks. Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith, and Jason Behrendorff have all impressed during the BBL and Kane Richardson and Andrew Tye are proven performers on the international stage.”
Australia Test squad
Tim Paine (c), Pat Cummins, Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Moises Henriques, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.
Australia T20I squad
Aaron Finch (c), Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.