Veteran Australia batsman Usman Khawaja has earned a recall in the 15-member Ashes squad as Australia announced the squad. However, he has been recalled for the first two Ashes Tests. Notably, he has not played Tests for more than two years, but he has been in great form in the Sheffield Shield this season.
With his selection, it will be interesting to see if he gets the chance as there is Travis Head also to seal his place in the middle-order as well. The selectors have also added the uncapped leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson as Nathan Lyon’s backup and Marcus Harris as David Warner’s opening partner as well.
However, Michael Neser has just returned to training after having suffered a mild hamstring strain. He will accompany the pace trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood alongside Jhye Richardson as the backup.
“Jhye is seeing the rewards of concentrating on his red ball cricket in the build up to this series,” George Bailey said. “We know he has an exceptional skill set and are excited about what he brings to the team now his body is back on track. Marcus has been a consistent run scorer domestically and had a strong winter further developing his game with Leicestershire. He is a good player who will be looking to build a strong partnership with David Warner at the top of the order.”
“Travis finished last summer strongly, second only to Cameron Green for runs scored, and has again started the season well. He drives the game forward and can put the opposition under pressure with his ability to score quickly. Similarly, Usman Khawaja has been in great touch. He brings a calm, consistent and experienced component to the batting line up and is a proven run scorer at Test level. He also has the ability to bat across a range of positions in the batting order,” he further added.
However, the selectors have also named a group of 11 players for the Australia A side for an intra-squad match from December 1-3 as part of their preparation. Mitchell Marsh has been added to the group that includes Matt Renshaw and Nic Maddinson for their recent stunning form in the Shield games.
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (C), Pat Cummins (VC), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
Australia A players: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh, Matt Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street