Cricket Australia (CA) has named a spin-heavy, 16-member squad for the upcoming four-match Test series against India, that begins on February 25. Steve Smith will lead the side in his first tour to India as the Test captain. The most notable inclusion was that of explosive Victorian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell who last played a Test match for Australia against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 2014. Maxwell hasn’t been in prime form this season, and has made just 129 runs at an average of 25.80 in the Sheffield Shield trophy so far.
He was also involved in wrong reasons after his remarks on Matthew Wade batting above him in the domestic cricket. However, Maxwell’s all-round ability and his IPL experience earned him a birth on the flight to India. Selectors have selected a four-men spin attack led by Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe. The lanky left-arm spinner Ashton Agar also makes a comeback. He was a part of the Test squad that was whitewashed on India’s last tour in 2012-13. A new face in Mitchell Swepson, who bowls leg-spin has been added to the Test squad. The leggie was backed by the Aussie legend Shane Warne.
You may also like to watch this video:
While the pace bowling department will be led by Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird. They will also find the support of another comeback man Mitchell Marsh.
The batting department will be headed by the in-form opener David Warner, captain Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja. It will be a maiden trip to India for Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw. Both of them have recently scored centuries against Pakistan in the Test series, which Australia won 3-0.
David Warner, Steven Smith, Shaun Marsh and in-form Khawaja will form the key in the batting order. While, it will be interesting to see, how effectively the new bowling unit challenges India. An interesting stats doing the round is that the 16-member squad combined together have played only 16 Tests in India!
The first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will begin on February 23 in Pune. The second Test will be played at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore, that will commence on March 4. The third and the fourth Tests will be held in new venues of Ranchi and Dharamsala.
Australia Squad: David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), Peter Handscomb, Steve O’Keefe, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Jackson Bird, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Marsh, Matt Wade, Mitchell Starc.