Matthew Wade has been dropped from Australia’s Test squad for the series against South Africa, and will instead tour New Zealand with the T20I side when the concurrent trips are due to take place in February and March, while Tim Paine has been given a strong endorsement to continue has captain.
The South Africa tour, which is set to include three Tests, is still awaiting final sign-off between the two boards with the series currently expected to begin in early March. The squad to New Zealand is due to depart on February 7.
Alex Carey has been included in the Test squad while Queensland quick Mark Steketee has also been called up with Jhye Richardson, who had been tipped for the South Africa trip, heading to New Zealand instead.
The T20I squad includes a host of names who have impressed during the BBL including 19-year-old legspinner Tanveer Sangha who has starred for Sydney Thunder. Josh Philippe and Riley Meredith are the other uncapped players.
“We do not envisage replicating concurrent Australian men’s tours in the future, but we appreciate the need to do so now to assist our friends around the world during this challenging period for international sport and given the additional time requirements of mandatory quarantine periods,” Ben Oliver, the head of national teams, said.
Wade had a disappointing series against India where he made 173 runs at 21.26 and his shot selection came under particularly scrutiny in the final two Tests when he moved back down to the middle order having helped fill the opening void in the absence of David Warner and Will Pucovski.
Pucovski ended the series on the sidelines again due to a shoulder injury following an impressive debut at the SCG but he and Warner are likely to form the opening partnership going forward.
The majority of the 19-man test squad were involved in the India series but Carey now has the chance to firmly establish himself as the eventual successor to Paine.
“When presented with the challenging task of selecting two concurrent Australian men’s squads for overseas tours, we picked our first-choice Test squad given the importance of the proposed series against South Africa,” national selector Trevor Hohns said. “It is testament to the depth of Australian cricket that the NSP has been able to select two Australian men’s international squads of such quality.”
Paine, who has come under pressure for the 2-1 series loss against India during which he also apologised for his on-field behaviour on the final day at the SCG, was given strong backing.
“Tim Paine has been an outstanding captain since taking over the Australian men’s Test team in incredibly difficult circumstances,” Oliver said.
“Tim has the support of the team, the coach and everyone else at Cricket Australia and the result of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series has done nothing to diminish that. Tim is in career-best form with the bat and, while the series against India was not his best with the gloves by his own admission, he remains in the top echelon of wicketkeepers globally.
“And as a leader, he has been brilliant. To captain a squad through the many challenges presented by the pandemic – not least the unique pressures of hub life – is no easy task and Tim did that with strength, humility and good humour.
“After a series that attracted so much global interest, it was inevitable there’d be scrutiny. But some of the commentary surrounding Tim and his position as Test captain has been wide of the mark.”
T20I squad Aaron Finch (capt), Matthew Wade (vc), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa
Test squad Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins (vc), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
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