Home Cricket News Australia announces Ashes squad for first two matches

Australia announces Ashes squad for first two matches

The moment has finally arrived! After 3 rounds of Sheffield Shield, with only 6 days to go before the much anticipated Ashes 2017-18, Australia have announced their squad for first 2 tests. And yeah! They have swung the ax and brought in new faces. Apparently, the thinking behind the selection process seems to be quite interesting!

Australia has axed opener Matt Renshaw after a string of low scores in first 3 rounds of Sheffield Shield. Playing for Queensland Bulls, the 21-year-old left-handed batsmen could score only 70 runs at an average of 12. He is replaced by Western Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft who has been piling runs in domestic cricket. The 25-year-old has amassed 442 runs in 6 innings at an average of 110.

There was a lot of talk going on about who should be Australia”s No.6 in Ashes, the hopefuls for this slot being Stoinis, Maxwell, Cartwright. However, Australia has left all of them out and decided to go with in-form Shaun Marsh. The 34-year-old has been in red-hot form of late. He topped the run charts in JLT One Day Cup and has put up decent performances for Australia in Shield Cricket.

Another surprise inclusion is Tim Paine”s. Cloud was always hanging over Wade”s place on the side following his lackluster show in India and Bangladesh. However, Peter Nevill looked to be the front-runner for this spot. Tim Paine hasn”t played a test match since October 2010. He hasn”t kept wickets for Tasmania in Shield Cricket as well. It should be interesting to see how he goes on his comeback.

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Australians have gone with a full-fledged 5-bowlers pace attack comprising of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Jackson Bird and Chad Sayers with Nathan Lyon being the lone frontline spinner. Exclusions of Maxwell, Swepson, and Agar means there aren”t much of backup spin bowling options for Australia. Also, no one from Australia”s top order bowls part-time spin barring Steve Smith.

From this 13-man squad, it looks like Chad Sayers and Jackson Bird will be the ones warming the bench. The first test starts at Gabba on November 23. The action moves to the iconic Adelaide Oval for the first ever Ashes Day-Night test affair starting on December 2.

Australia squad for first two Ashes Tests: Steve Smith (C), David Warner (VC), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Chad Sayers.

– by Atharva Apte