Australia names squad for opening matches of the Vodafone Ashes Series

The National Selection Panel (NSP) has today named a 15-player squad for the first two matches of the Vodafone Men’s Ashes Series against England.

Also announced was an extended player list from which an Australia A team will be selected for a tour match against the English Lions.

Selected players will also have an internal match opportunity at Redlands Cricket Club from December 1-3 as part of their final preparation.

NB: NSP Chair George Bailey will be available at 1pm AEDT today: George Bailey

Australia:

Tim Paine (TAS) (c)
Pat Cummins (NSW) (vc)
Cameron Green (WA)
Marcus Harris (VIC)
Josh Hazlewood (NSW)
Travis Head (SA)
Usman Khawaja (QLD)
Marnus Labuschagne (QLD)
Nathan Lyon (NSW)
Michael Neser (QLD)
Jhye Richardson (WA)
Steve Smith (NSW)
Mitchell Starc (NSW)
Mitchell Swepson (QLD)
David Warner (NSW)

Additional Australia A players:

Sean Abbott (NSW)
Ashton Agar (WA)
Scott Boland (VIC)
Alex Carey (SA)
Henry Hunt (SA)
Josh Inglis (WA)
Nic Maddinson (VIC)
Mitchell Marsh (WA)
Matt Renshaw (QLD)
Mark Steketee (QLD)
Bryce Street (QLD)

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George Bailey, NSP Chair, said on the squad for the first two Test matches: “After an extended break between Test matches we are looking to build a strong squad mentality across what is an incredibly exciting summer of cricket.

“This group is well balanced to ensure we are prepared for the many challenges of an Ashes Series. It has a mix of experienced, proven performers and emerging, developing talent.

“We will take this 15-player squad into the opening Test in Brisbane and the pink ball match in Adelaide, after which we can reassess for the remaining matches.”

Bailey said Marcus Harris and Travis Head had reinforced their most recent selection on the South African tour, while Jhye Richardson’s focus on longer form cricket had paid dividends for the young West Australian fast bowler.

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“Jhye is seeing the rewards of concentrating on his red ball cricket in the build up to this series. 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,” Bailey said.

“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.

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“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.”

Fast bowler Michael Neser has returned to training following a minor hamstring strain to retain his place in the squad. Neser has been part of the Test Squads for a number of series and continues to lead the Queensland attack with strong domestic performances.

Squad members from the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup campaign have returned to the Gold Coast to begin preparations for the Brisbane Test from December 8, to be joined by their team-mates over the coming weeks.