Cricket Australia’s National Selection Panel has named a 15-player squad for the tour of the United Arab Emirates.
The squad, led by Tim Paine, will play two Tests against Pakistan, the first commencing on October 7 at Dubai International Stadium and the second commencing on October 16 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The vice-captain position will be finalised and announced by the NSP ahead of the series.
Speaking on the squad, National Selector Trevor Hohns said:
Peter Siddle, who last played a Test in late 2016, is set to return to the Australia side and team up with Mitchell Starc in a new-look pace attack in a new-look team.— ICC (@ICC) September 11, 2018
Australia's squad for Pakistan Tests ⬇️https://t.co/lOYWxCMDbw pic.twitter.com/qZqPfnQX4Q
“There has been significant change to our Test squad, due to the unavailability of a number of key players,” Hohns said.
“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.
“Looking at the conditions we may face in the UAE, we believe this squad covers all bases. We have selected four front-line fast bowlers and three spinners, with Mitchell Marsh ready to play as an all-rounder and a number of top-order batsmen who also offer part-time spin options.
“There are five potential debutants in the squad, all of whom have earned selection through their performances and deserve this opportunity.”
On the yet-to-debut players – Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Michael Neser, Marcus Labuschagne and Brendan Doggett – Hohns said:
“Aaron is in sensational form, and this is the right time to give him a chance to play Test cricket. He has performed well in the Sheffield Shield in recent seasons, and brings added experience and leadership to this group.
“Travis has improved his game immensely over the past 12 months, and is the type of player we want in this environment. He’s a hard worker who has performed well with the bat in his recent four-day opportunities for Australia A and South Australia.
“Michael is a strong all-round cricketer – he bowls and bats well, and is a mature player coming off a fantastic Sheffield Shield season for Queensland. He has impressed us with his performances for Australia A and in his white-ball opportunities for Australia.
“Marnus is a young player with plenty of potential and a great work ethic. He has performed well in the Sheffield Shield, has shown he’s a good player of spin for Australia A in India, and is an elite fielder who offers added variety with the ball as a leg-spin option.
“Brendan is an exciting prospect, a fast bowler with raw pace and wicket-taking ability. He provides an additional option to Mitchell Starc if extra pace is called for, and this is an ideal opportunity to get him involved in a national set-up for the first time after his recent showings for Queensland and Australia A.”
If selected to debut, Doggett would become just the second Indigenous cricketer to play Test cricket for the Australian Men’s Cricket Team, following Jason Gillespie.
On the return of 62 Test-veteran Peter Siddle, Hohns added:
“Peter is a proven performer in the Test arena, who has been in outstanding form in his recent first-class outings over in England. His experience will be crucial for this bowling group, and we know that he is a warrior who can bowl the type of long, tight spells which may be required in the conditions we expect to face.”
Joe Burns, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, and Jhye Richardson were among a number of other players considered, but not selected.
“Joe, Peter and Glenn were players we discussed when selecting the batting group, but we had to take into account the conditions and competition we are set to face in the upcoming series. All three remain on our radar for Test cricket, but we want them to perform for their States and continue to push their case ahead of what is going to be a big Australian summer,” Hohns said.
“Jhye is a player who has a bright future in all formats, and has been impressive in his international opportunities to date. He is one of a number of developing bowlers adding to the depth of our fast bowling group, and we see him potentially having an important role to play in the shorter formats of the game in the immediate future.”
The squad will assemble in Brisbane for a pre-tour camp on 16 September.
Australian Tour of UAE – Test Squad
Tim Paine (c) Tasmania
Ashton Agar Western Australia
Brendan Doggett Queensland
Aaron Finch Victoria
Travis Head South Australia
Jon Holland Victoria
Usman Khawaja Queensland
Marnus Labuschagne Queensland
Nathan Lyon New South Wales
Mitchell Marsh Western Australia
Shaun Marsh Western Australia
Michael Neser Queensland
Matthew Renshaw Queensland
Peter Siddle Victoria
Mitchell Starc New South Wales
September 29 – October 2: warm-up match v Pakistan A, ICC Academy, Dubai
October 7 – 11: 1st Test v Pakistan, Dubai International Stadium
October 16 – 20 : 2nd Test v Pakistan, Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Australia seamer Peter Siddle has signed a two-year deal at Essex after a couple of successful spells at the club this season.
Siddle ended his latest stint at Essex following the defeat to Surrey at Chelmsford this week, having taken his wickets tally to 37 in seven County Championship Division One matches this year.
The 33-year-old, whose international career has comprised of 62 Tests, 17 one-dayers and two Twenty20s, will return to Australia but has signed a new contract with the county until the end of the 2020 season.
The news comes in the same week as Essex announcing a fresh three-year deal for Alastair Cook, who will end his record-breaking England career at the end of the Test series against India.
Siddle said: “I have loved my time at the club so far with the players and staff giving me a great welcome, and I really feel part of the team at Essex. As an overseas player, I am always committed to taking the whole experience in and not just picking up my money and being on my way at the end of a contract.
“There is a wealth of talent in this squad who are hungry for more success and I am thrilled that I can join them for a further two seasons and be part of it.
I’m also really excited to play alongside Cooky, we’ve had some really great battles in the past and it’s going to be fun to play on the same side as him rather than against him.”
An incredible 20 run final-over onslaught from Queensland all-rounder Jack Wildermuth led Australia A to victory against India B at Alur, and a place in the final of the ‘A Team’ quadrangular series, which also involves India A and South Africa A.
Requiring 19 from the final over, Wildermuth faced all six balls, and with five needed to win off the last ball he smashed a six over mid-wicket to win the game.
The 24-year-old finished unbeaten on 62 off just 42 balls, as player-of-the-match Usman Khawaja saw the innings through from start to finish with a brilliant century (101 not out off 93).
It will now be a rematch in the final at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday, with Australia A to face India B.
“I knew I had to take the innings deep,” said Wildermuth after the match. “Ussie’s (Khawaja) obviously the set batsman, so I tried to not put too much pressure on him and if we could take it deep we were always in with a chance.”
But as the overs ran down the Melbourne Renegades star felt the game was slipping away.
“We were really trying to go there for a few overs but we couldn’t get the ball out of the meat of the bat,” he explained.
“It was ‘watch the ball, try to put it over the fence’. We needed 19 off the last over so we needed boundaries.”
Of the final ball maximum, Wildermuth said he had tried the winning shot a couple of times earlier in the over.
“I’d been trying to play that same shot a couple of times during the (last) over and I didn’t get them,” he said. “So I just made sure I watched the ball really hard and I knew if it was there I could probably put it over the fence.”
In a rain-affected match, Australia A reached 132-4 from 24.2 overs before the covers came on, in pursuit of India B’s 276-6 from their 50 overs.
Travis Head won the toss and elected to bowl, with Michael Neser (3-47 off nine) the pick of the Australian bowlers as India B captain Manish Pandey (117 not out off 109 balls) reached three figures.
Australia A’s target was revised to 247 from 40 overs after the rain break, a further 115 runs from 15.4 overs to win.
Alex Carey (23) made an impact alongside Khawaja at the top of the order in a 77-run opening partnership, while Marnus Labuschagne (13) and Ashton Agar (15) also made starts either side of the rain break.
But it was Wildermuth and Khawaja who held their nerve in thrilling finish, as the run rate crept up to 11 an over with six overs to go, and then 28 runs needed off the last two overs.
The first two balls of the final over- bowled by pacer Prasidh Krishna – went for two runs each, followed by a four and another two.
With nine needed off the final two balls, Wildermuth found the boundary on both occasions – a four followed by a maximum with Australia A finishing their 40 overs at 248-8 to win by five wickets.
Relieved to reach the final, Wildermuth said the team “knew we needed to win” against India B.
“We didn’t probably start the tournament as well as we had liked but the last two battings innings have been really great, especially from our top order.
“Someone’s stood up and got a hundred which is great, Ussie and Heady (Travis Head), so it’s great to get some momentum going into the final.”
Australia A quadrangular series results:
August 23: Australia A (151) lost to India A (152-5)
August 25: Australia A (322-5) beat South Africa A (290)
August 27: Australia A (248-5) beat India B (276-6) via DLS method