Australia’s fringe players have been told their hopes of a Test call up in Sri Lanka are not over despite selectors naming a virtually unchanged squad for the tour. Australia on Friday confirmed only Marcus Harris and Michael Neser would drop out of the players who went on the recent Pakistan tour, with only 16 named in the group for the two Tests in June and July.
It means Scott Boland has retained his place as Australia’s back-up seamer, albeit he and Josh Hazlewood will battle for spots if Australia only pick two quicks in their team to allow for an extra spinner. But all hope is not lost for the likes of Harris and Glenn Maxwell, who will tour Sri Lanka as part of Australia A and national white-ball squads respectively.
Chief selector George Bailey confirmed selectors were willing to bring extra players in if they dominated in the preceding white-ball matches or two four-day games for Australia A.
“We thought the guys who did the job in Pakistan did a really good job on the back of a really good summer,” Bailey said. “So there wasn’t too much discussion around others. [But reduced squads after the pandemic] allows us to get back to having that flexibility that if we do need to add to the squad … we have the ability to do that.”
That would be of particular interest to the likes of Maxwell, given his status as a spinning allrounder. The Victorian has had limited first-class experience in recent years, but has played in four Test series on the sub-continent and scored a century in India in 2017.
“Glenn’s had some some red-ball success in these types of conditions,” Bailey said. “And if he shoots lights out or if anyone else does particularly well, then there’s there’s always going to be opportunities.”
One player not set to be afforded that opportunity is Will Pucovski, with selectors opting to reward players who performed through the summer in the A-squad. Pucovski is now back playing cricket after his repeated concussions, but will be left to wait until next summer to build up his body of work.
Meanwhile Adam Zampa will miss the tour for the birth of his first child while Test captain Pat Cummins will sit out the three-match T20 series. Ben McDermott is the most notable absentee, missing out on the five-match one-day squad despite making his case for next year’s World Cup with a century against Pakistan in March.
test squad: Pat Cummins (captain), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.
T20 squad: Aaron Finch (captain), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner, Matthew Wade.
ODI squad: Aaron Finch (captain), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.
A-squad: Sean Abbott, Scott Boland, Pete Handscomb, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nic Maddinson, Todd Murphy, Josh Philippe, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, Mark Steketee.