Cricket Australia’s National Selection Panel (NSP) has chosen a 15-man squad for the two-Test Tour of Bangladesh it was announced today.
The squad, to be led by newly appointed Test captain Steve Smith, features two uncapped players – 22 year-old Western Australia top-order batsman Cameron Bancroft and 30 year-old Tasmania fast bowler Andrew Fekete.
It includes eight players –Smith, Nathan Lyon, Shaun and Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc and Adam Voges – from the most recent Test squad that toured the British Isles.
Players who featured in that squad but are now absent are the retired quintet of Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Chris Rogers and Shane Watson, as well as fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood, both recuperating after high workloads in the West Indies and in the Ashes series, opening batsman David Warner who fractured his left thumb in the One-Day International series against England, and leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed.
There are recalls to the Test squad for Joe Burns, Patrick Cummins (recalled to replace Ryan Harris during the Ashes), Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell and Stephen O’Keefe.
The NSP has chosen Voges as vice-captain, and that nomination has been ratified by Cricket Australia’s Board of Directors. Voges fills the role in the absence of Warner.
Commenting on the line-up to tour Bangladesh, National Selector Rodney Marsh said: “The retirements of five players from the squad that went on the Ashes tour, as well as issues of injury, form and conditions have brought about a major change in the profile of the touring party from the one that toured the British Isles.
“But with that change comes a fantastic opportunity for all the players going to Bangladesh.
“They are going as a young group with seven of the players aged 26 or less, and all 15 have the opportunity to kick on and, in the case of Cameron Bancroft and Andrew Fekete, kick off their Test careers and establish themselves as the core of the side for years to come.
“It is an exciting time to be involved in Australian cricket, with a new captain in Steve Smith and a crop of hugely talented players alongside him with the chance to forge a bright future for our national side.”
Bancroft scored 896 first-class runs last summer, including 211 against New South Wales in Perth in March, while Fekete took 37 wickets – more than any other fast bowler in domestic cricket – during the same Sheffield Shield season.
Marsh said: “Cameron is a player who impressed everyone on the recent A tour of India.
“He can bat for long periods of time and scored an outstanding 150 against India A in Chennai.
“On that tour he played spin well, fielded brilliantly at bat-pad and his whole demeanour was that of a player who is determined to play Test cricket.
“He scored almost 900 first-class runs last season, he’s young, hungry and he could become a very good player for us over a long period of time.
“Andrew bowled really well last summer and followed that up on the A tour.
“He can generate reverse swing and that ability could be extremely useful in the conditions we expect to encounter in Bangladesh.
“Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood were not considered for the tour as, after heavy workloads over the past six months and with a significant amount of cricket to come, we wanted to make sure they are right to go at the start of our domestic summer.
“We expect both players to start bowling again in the next week or so, hopefully play some Matador Cup and Sheffield Shield cricket for their states and be ready for selection for the first home Test of the season, against New Zealand.”
On O’Keefe’s selection ahead of Ashes tourist Fawad Ahmed, Marsh said: “Stephen did well on the A tour. We felt he bowled exceptionally well.
“It’s true that Fawad didn’t get many opportunities in either the West Indies or on the Ashes tour but when he did get them he didn’t bowl as well as I’m sure he would have wanted.
“He will go back to Victoria and hopefully start taking wickets to give us the right type of problem to have as a National Selection Panel.
“With Stephen O’Keefe, Nathan Lyon and Glenn Maxwell we believe we have the right number and the right type of spinners for the conditions we expect to encounter.”
Of the top-order players selected alongside captain Smith, Marsh commented: “We have options because Joe Burns, Cameron Bancroft, Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja can all bat pretty much anywhere.
“Our desire is that these players form the nucleus of our top-order, alongside Steve Smith and David Warner, for the forseeable future, form and fitness permitting.”
And on Adam Voges’ nomination as Smith’s vice-captain, Marsh added: “In Adam we have a hugely experienced player who we feel sure will be a great influence around the group and also someone who will be an invaluable asset for Steve Smith on his first Test tour as captain.”
The players are scheduled to depart from home ports on 28 September and arrive in Dhaka ahead of a tour match in Fatullah from 3 – 5 October.
The two Tests will take place in Chittagong (9 – 13 October) and Dhaka (17 – 21 October).
Australia Squad to tour Bangladesh
(Player, state, age, caps)
Steve Smith (captain), New South Wales, 26, 33
Adam Voges (vice-captain), Western Australia, 35, 7
Cameron Bancroft, Western Australia, 22, 0
Joe Burns, Queensland, 26, 2
Patrick Cummins, New South Wales, 22, 1
Andrew Fekete, Tasmania, 30, 0
Usman Khawaja, Queensland, 28, 9
Nathan Lyon, New South Wales, 27, 46
Mitchell Marsh, Western Australia, 23, 7
Shaun Marsh, Western Australia, 32, 15
Glenn Maxwell, Victoria, 26, 3
Peter Nevill, New South Wales, 29, 4
Stephen O’Keefe, New South Wales, 30, 1
Peter Siddle, Victoria, 30, 57
Mitchell Starc, New South Wales, 25, 22