SYDNEY: Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft is set for his Test debut and wicketkeeper Tim Paine returns in a shock selection in Australia’s squad named Friday for the first two Tests against England.
Bancroft gets his chance after scoring heavily in this season’s domestic Sheffield Shield competition, and replaces Matthew Renshaw as David Warner’s opening batting partner.
Paine is the selection bolter and gets the nod over Matthew Wade and Peter Nevill, despite few appearances for his Tasmania state side behind Wade this season.
National selector Trevor Hohns said Bancroft earned his call-up to the Test side for the first two in Brisbane next week and in Adelaide in early December.
“Cameron has been a player of interest to us for some time now, having been unlucky to miss out on the Test tour to Bangladesh that was cancelled in 2015,” Hohns said.
“He is a very talented and tough cricketer who shows a good temperament for Test cricket.
“He has thoroughly earned and deserves his call-up following some outstanding performances in the early rounds of the Sheffield Shield competition this season.”
Paine is a shock selection and has been named for his first Test in seven years, having last played for Australian in October 2010.
“Tim was identified as an international player a long time ago and has always been renowned as a very good gloveman, also performing well for us whenever he has represented Australia in any format,” Hohns said.
“His batting form in recent outings for the Cricket Australia XI and Tasmania has been good.”
Shaun Marsh, 34, also returns again to the Australian squad and will bat at number six.
“Shaun is playing very well at the moment, having scored consistently in the One-Day Cup and first three rounds of the Sheffield Shield competition,” Hohns said.
“He is a versatile player who can slot in anywhere in the batting order and will add valuable experience to the batting line-up.”
Paceman Chadd Sayers has been added to the strong fast-bowling line-up in the squad along with Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Jackson Bird to give selectors options depending of the state of the Gabba pitch for next week’s first Test.
“Chadd’s inclusion in the squad is with a view to the second Adelaide Test and the conditions that we may see there,” Hohns said.
“He swings the ball with good control and knows the conditions well at his home ground. He gives us this bowling option if required.”
Renshaw and Wade were omitted from the Test squad with Hohns saying Wade was left out because of “inconsistent performances with the gloves and lack of form with the bat”.
Hohns said the selection panel did not feel Renshaw was batting well enough at this stage to earn Test selection.
“We still view Matthew as a player of immense talent, but he is out of form at the moment and we don’t feel an Ashes Test match is the best place for him to find form,” he said.
“We would like him to go back to first-class cricket and push his name forward with the selection panel through big runs.”
Australia – Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.