Australia have nominated a 15-man squad for the first two tests of Men’s Ashes this summer, as well as an extended roster from which an Australian A team will be selected for a touring match against the English Lions.
In what will be the first round of Australian tests since last summer’s Border-Gavaskar campaign, Usman Khawaja and Jhye Richardson are both returning to the fold.
Khawaja, last of the game eleven on the Australian tour of England in 2019, looks likely to compete for the selection in mid-order against Travis Head, with holders Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith and Cameron Green all appearing likely starters.
Coaching Chairman George Bailey has indicated Marcus Harris will open the bat with David Warner, retaining his place as the starter.
Tim Paine (c), Pat Cummins (vc), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
Additional Australian A players:
Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh, Matt Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street
“Marcus has been a consistent scorer nationally and has had a solid winter developing his game with Leicestershire,” said Bailey. “He’s a good player who will look to build a solid partnership with David Warner at the top of the order.
“Travis finished last summer strong, just behind Cameron Green in points scored, and has started the season again. He advances the game and can put the opponent under pressure with his ability to score quickly.
“Likewise, Usman Khawaja has been in very good contact. He brings a calm, consistent and experienced component to the batting lineup and is a proven Test-level scorer. He also has the ability to strike through a range of positions in batting order.
Khawaja and Richardson have both been in impressive form at Australia’s Sheffield Shield competition this year. Khawaja leads the tournament points standings with 404 points to 67.33, while Richardson won 16 wickets at 12.50.
“Jhye sees the benefits of focusing on his red ball cricket in preparation for this series. We know he has exceptional skills and we are excited about what he brings to the team now that his body is back on track, ”said Bailey.
First test: December 8-12 – The Gabba, Brisbane
Second test: December 16-20 – Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30 – Melbourne Cricket Ground
Fourth test: January 5-9 – Sydney Cricket Ground
Fifth test: January 14-18 – Perth Stadium
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