Australia’s National Selection Panel has named a strong XI to face the touring Pakistan side in the three-day fixture at Perth Stadium. Alex Carey, Australia’s vice-captain in ODIs and T20Is, has been named the skipper of the XI that has several high profile batsmen looking to seal spots in the senior Test squad for the two-match Test series.
Marcus Harris and Joe Burns will be opening the innings with one of them expected to be named David Warner’s opening partner. The packed middle order sees Usman Khawaja, Travis Head and youngster Will Pucovski looking to push their cases as well.
“Alex Carey has proven himself to be an exceptional leader in his role as vice-captain of the Australian men’s One-Day International and Twenty20 International teams,” National selector Trevor Hohns said.
“This fixture represents an opportunity to provide Alex with more leadership experience and he will be supported by two experienced vice-captains in Usman Khawaja and Travis Head. In terms of the batting line-up, we were eager to give Khawaja, Head and Marcus Harris another opportunity to push their respective cases for Test selection this summer given all three were part of our winter Ashes campaign.
“Joe Burns was an unlucky omission for that tour to the UK and deserves a chance to push his case for Test selection in this tour match. Additionally, Will Pucovski and Nic Maddinson have started the season strongly for Victoria and we’re looking forward to giving them an opportunity to perform against a quality international team. Both are exciting batsmen whom we’ve had our eye on for some time,” he further added.
Australia will also be excited to evaluate Jhye Richardson’s progress post the shoulder surgery that kept him out of action for a prolonged period. Richardson is a part of the four-man pace attack that also includes Sean Abbott, Michael Neser and young quick Riley Meredith. No spinner has been picked for this day-night fixture.
“Riley Meredith is an exciting young prospect and a wicket-taking option, while Jhye Richardson continues to improve in his return from shoulder surgery. And Michael Neser has started this season in excellent form after touring with the Ashes squad through the winter.
“We’ve taken into account local conditions as well as individual requirements when selecting this Australia A XI. We have not selected a spinner because we felt they would receive limited opportunities in a three-day day-night fixture in Perth compared to a four-day Sheffield Shield match.”
Australia A squad: Alex Carey (C/WK), Marcus Harris, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Will Pucovski, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Sean Abbott, Riley Meredith