Australia have named a largely unchanged squad for the upcoming Test series against Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand.
Only Cameron Bancroft has been dropped from the recently concluded Test series against Pakistan although the middle-order batsman has been named as a standby for the first Test against New Zealand in Perth.
While the same core group of players has been retained for the battle against the Kiwis, Australia selection chief Trevor Hohns has indicated that there could be changes on the cards as the three-match series progresses.
“We are backing the current batting line-up to continue their form across the next three Tests,” Hohns was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“Whilst not a part of this squad, Cameron Bancroft remains one of the standby players.
“Similarly, depending on conditions, we reserve the right to add a player to the squad at any time during the series.”
After a 2-0 series win against Pakistan, the National Selection Panel have announced a 13-player squad to take on New Zealand in the Domain three-Test series: Paine (c), Burns, Cummins (vc), Hazelwood, Head (vc), Labuschagne, Lyon, Neser, Pattinson, Smith, Starc, Wade, Warner. pic.twitter.com/4qN5wZRUzF— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) December 2, 2019
The hosts fielded the same playing XI in both the innings wins over Pakistan recently, and the same set of players are likely to feature in the three Tests against New Zealand. However, depending upon conditions for the final Test in Sydney, Australia could consider bringing in an all-rounder in order to field a second spinner to supplement Nathan Lyon.
“All-rounder options are thin on the ground as well, without disrespecting anybody,” Hohns stated.
“Of course there’s Mitchell Marsh and then there’s Marcus Stoinis and there’s young Cameron Green, who is probably not ready yet either. He’s not able to bowl too much, but he is a very good up-and-coming young player.
“We’d have to have a look at that if we require an all-rounder, and we would only require one if we were going to play two specialist spinners in Sydney.”
Should Australia consider playing a second spinner in Sydney, Ashton Agar could be in with a shout. The 26-year-old left-armed spinner has been a part of the team’s T20 outfit in recent months and put in some impressive displays at home against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The first Test between Australia and New Zealand will begin on December 12 in Perth and will be a day-night affair. Melbourne will play host to the customary Boxing Day clash beginning on December 26 while the final Test in Sydney gets underway on January 3.
Australia 13-man squad
Tim Paine (c and wk), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
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