Australia vs Pakistan: Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns back; Usman Khawaja, Marcus Harris axed for Pakistan Tests

Cameron Bancroft is one of three specialist openers for Australia, along with Joe Burns and David Warner, but is more likely to play down the order if selected for the two Tests starting in Brisbane next week, followed by a day-night clash in Adelaide.

Agence France-Presse, Nov 14, 2019 10:14:14 IST

Sydney: Cameron Bancroft and Joe Burns got the nod Thursday for Australia's Test squad to face Pakistan, with Usman Khawaja and Marcus Harris axed after flopping during the Ashes series against England.

Australia vs Pakistan: Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns back; Usman Khawaja, Marcus Harris axed for Pakistan Tests

Australia A's Cameron Bancroft reacts after getting dismissed by Shaheen Afridi for 49 in the practice match. Image credit: Twitter/@cricketcomau

Bowling allrounder Michael Neser was also included as a back-up to the formidable pace attack of Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson.

Bancroft was only rushed into the Australia A team at the last minute this week when Nic Maddinson pulled out to deal with mental health issues.

But he made the most of his opportunity, top-scoring with 49 in their first innings total of 122 all out to put himself in the reckoning after failing to make an impact in the Ashes on his return to Test cricket after a ball-tampering ban.

He is one of three specialist openers, along with Burns and Warner, but is more likely to play down the order if selected for the two Tests starting in Brisbane next week, followed by a day-night clash in Adelaide.

Burns was unlucky to be overlooked for the Ashes having scored a century in the last Test he played against Sri Lanka in February.

National selector Trevor Hohns suggested he would open with Warner, pointing out that "he has Test hundreds on the board and has combined very well with David in the past".

Unlucky players

Harris and Khawaja miss out after failing to impress in England or in the Australia A match, which was seen as a "bat-off" for the Test slots up for grabs.

"As always there were players who were unlucky to miss the squad. Those players remain firmly in the national selection frame and will continue to be monitored closely," added Hohns.

Middle-order batsman Travis Head, who was dropped for the last Ashes Test, was given another chance after young prodigy Will Pucovski, widely tipped to be included, pulled out of contention earlier Thursday citing his "mental wellbeing".

Pucovski, who announced himself with a superb 243 for Victoria against Western Australia last season, has a history of mental health battles.

Following that double century, he took a long break and later told reporters: "It was one of those things where what it looked like from the outside wasn't quite matching up with what it was on the inside.

"I was more confused than at any other time in my life," he added.

He seemed to recover and was parachuted into the Australia squad in January for two Tests against Sri Lanka, but did not play and was released during the second Test as he continued to struggle.

Pucovski is the third Australian Test aspirant in recent weeks to take time away from cricket to tackle mental health issues, with Maddinson and Glenn Maxwell also both currently out of action.

Hohns said Neser was included due to "his ability move the ball both ways, giving the team another bowling option depending on the conditions".

"We are blessed to have four of the best fast bowlers in the world challenging each other for spots and most importantly playing as a group," he added.

Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (capt), Cameron Bancroft, 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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Updated Date: Nov 14, 2019 10:14:14 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 England 4366 104
4 South Africa 3177 102
5 Australia 3672 102
6 Sri Lanka 3795 95
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 10071 258
6 New Zealand 6056 252