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Australia’s 17-man squad a reflection of where they want to move as a Test team

Australia on Thursday named a 17-man team to face India in a four-match Test series. From in-form Victorian batsman Will Pucovski to Western Australia star all-rounder Cameron Green, the Aussie squad is a reflection of where the shape they want the Test side to take. The Australia A side named also portrays a mix of youth and experience, showing the selectors are serious about the warm-up games and hopes to identify their best Test side in the near future.

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

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

The Sheffield Shield performances were duly rewarded by Australia as they sought to identify potential future players.

CA’s National Selector Trevor Hohns said the Shield performances bode well for Australian cricket’s future.

“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,” Trevor Hohns, the National selector, said in a statement.

“Cameron has already won selection in the white-ball squad and continues that in joining the Test squad. He is a wonderful young talent who has great potential to become an allrounder of substance over time. His batting alone has demanded his place in the squad.”

Key Takeaways

The major takeaways from the Australian squad named:

New players

There were five uncapped Test players in the Australian squad with Will Pucovski, Cameron Green being the only two to not figure in any format for Australia. Leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson and seam-bowling allrounders Michael Neser and Sean Abbott have played in other formats but not Tests. Pucovski comes off the back of two double centuries in back to back first-class games for Victoria while Green has been knocking the door down with all-round performances. His inclusiom could mean Mitchell Marsh officially having more competition now. Marsh himself is in the A squad recovering from an injury sustained during the IPL.

Fast bowling strength

Pat Cummins, the vice-captain, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are the frontline seamers but they have competition like never before. James Pattinson and Michael Neser are joined by Sean Abbott as well as Australia added six pacers to the squad to cover up for injuries and possibly facilitate rotation of seamers over the course of the series.

Middle-order strengthening

An area where Australia have lacked in the recent past is the no.5- no.8 positions where runs have gone missing. With David Warner, Pucovski/Burns, Labuschagne and Steven Smith being the top four, the middle-order has Travis Head, Green, Paine and Wade fighting for places. If Burns does open, Pucovski could also feature down the order at no.5 with Green at no.6 and Tim Paine at no.7. That Australia realise there’s low returns from the lower middle-order itself is a promising sign. 

Rohit Sankar is a freelance cricket journalist stuck in a love-hate live-in relationship with the game. To rile him up, mention the 1999 World Cup semi-final. Rohit has been writing about cricket for well over 10 years now, and has written for a variety of news and sports outlets over this time.

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