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Australia make surprising changes in squad for series against Pakistan
- Updated: September 11, 2018
Australia have announced their first Test squad ever since their controversial tour of South Africa earlier this year. Accordingly, the selectors have made certain surprising changes considering the trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft has been banned for a year post the ball-tampering saga in that tour.
The two-match Test series against Pakistan will commence on 7th October at Dubai, whilst the second match would be played on 15th October at Abu Dhabi.
Amongst the fresh faces that have been introduced in the Test squad, Travis Head and Aaron Finch are the most known ones. Finch and Head have been regulars for the national team in the limited-overs circuit but they earned their maiden Test call-up now.
The other three new entrants are from Queensland, named Michael Neser, Brendan Doggett and Marnus Labuschagne.
Selector Trevor Hohns said, “There has been a significant change to our Test squad, due to the unavailability of a number of key players.
'That said, we firmly believe the squad selected is up to the challenge ahead and is capable of playing a brand of cricket that can perform well in this series against Pakistan.
'It's a blend of experienced players who have a significant amount of either Test or first-class cricket, and a number of younger players who we are confident are ready for the Test arena.'
Moreover, Justin Langer spoke about the inclusion of ODI specialist Finch, who has supposedly been vying for a chance in the longest format of the game.
Langer said, “He's one of the core leaders of the group and I know he's waited a long time to be in the squad. Hopefully like a Mike Hussey or a Brad Hodge or a George Bailey, he can have an impact on Test cricket as well.”
Furthermore, the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Peter Handscomb missed out from the squad. About Maxwell, Langer said, “I'd love to see Maxy score more hundreds and we've talked a lot together about the art of concentration and watching the ball like a hawk. If he does that more regularly, he will make more hundreds and be much more pickable for Test cricket.'
Peter Siddle’s return to the team was another unorthodox inclusion, considering the fact that the pacer hadn’t represented the national team over the course of last two years. The fast-bowling department also comprises of Mitchell Starc, who would be expected to lead the attack.
Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc