Pace trio set for debutants' ball in SA

22 September 2016

Chris Tremain impressed with Australia A through the winter // Getty

Australia coach Lehmann confirms all three uncapped quicks will play in five-match series against the Proteas

The evolution of Australia's one-day international team that began in the immediate aftermath of last year's World Cup triumph will continue at pace over coming weeks as the world champions lock horns with Ireland and South Africa.

And while injuries and workload management have paved the way for some of the newcomers, the formation of one of the least-experienced bowling attacks Australia has taken into an international tournament in recent times also reflects the necessity to constantly regenerate and refresh.

Which, in turn, is one of the reasons identified by coach Darren Lehmann for his team's consistent and continued success in the 50-over format over the past two decades in which Australia has won four of the six World Cups contested.

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The Australians arrived in Johannesburg on Tuesday to begin a week of preparation before their one-off ODI against Ireland at Benoni, followed by the five-match campaign against the Proteas that gets underway at Centurion the following Friday.

The 14-man squad is notable as much for the names that are absent – including new-ball pair Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, allrounder James Faulkner and top-order batter Shaun Marsh – as it is for the trio of uncapped seamers Joe Mennie, Daniel Worrall and Chris Tremain.

Which means the attack will be led by 'experienced' Victorian duo John Hastings (23 ODI appearances) and Scott Boland (12) as well as allrounder Mitchell Marsh (37), with the sole specialist spinner being South Australia leggie Adam Zampa who made his ODI debut in February this year.

SA a great challenge for young quicks: Lehmann

And the batting line-up features Travis Head who has just six ODIs to his name, while only three names – captain Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and fellow opener Aaron Finch – remain from the triumphant 2015 World Cup winning XI that took to the MCG 18 months ago.

Lehmann has confirmed that the new seam-bowling trio will all be given game time over the coming weeks, which means this South Africa campaign will be the first occasion in 30 years that Australia has blooded three new ODI quicks in a single series.

The most recent precedent being the inclusion of untried seamers Bruce Reid, Simon Davis, Dave Gilbert (as well as up-and-coming allrounder Steve Waugh) at the start of the annual one-day tri-series in Australia against New Zealand and India in January, 1986.

A bold rebuild of the national limited-overs line-up that paved the way for Australia's first World Cup win the following year, a success that is acknowledged as a turning point for Australian cricket following the turmoil and trials of the World Series Cricket split and its subsequent fall-out.

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"We do turnover a bit in our one-day set-up because you've got to give the Test players a break somewhere," Lehmann said at yesterday's pre-series media conference in Johannesburg.

"So we get our one-day players to chop and change a little bit, and they handle it very well.

"The great thing is it gives them (new players) a chance at this next level, so we've had someone like Travis Head come in and do really well for us, and the bowlers chop and change a bit.

"We've done that since the World Cup final and making sure we're giving everyone enough game time looking ahead to major tournaments – we've got the Champions Trophy next year (in the UK) and then looking ahead to 2019 (World Cup also in the UK).

"And the players adapt really well when we do that."

The fact that South African pitches and weather are the closest the Australians experience away from their own island while traversing the cricket world means that Mennie, Worrall and Tremain should find some familiarity in their ascension to the big time.

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What they might find a little daunting is an opposition batting line-up that includes talent the calibre of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, David Miller and JP Duminy.

By contrast, South Africa has named just one uncapped player in their squad for the five matches against Australia – fast bowler Andile Phehlukwayo – although another pair of debutants (Test batsman Temba Bavuma and allrounder Dwaine Pretorius) is likely to play in Proteas' upcoming outing against Ireland on Sunday.

So in addition to gaining an early look at some of the South Africans who are likely to figure in the three-Test series in Australia that begins in early November, among them fast bowling pair Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada, the Australians have kept their strike weapons under wraps.

"There's obviously good reasons why we don't bring Starc and Hazlewood here," Lehmann told the assembled South African media.

"We're playing you in a Test series and we want to give them a break.

"But we've got some good young fast bowlers.

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"It's a great challenge for our young guys, they're good young players and they'll go well.

"We've also got some good quality there with Hastings who has played really well for us, Boland did well last series (in Sri Lanka) and then you've got the three debutants who will play at some stage during the tournament.

"We're hoping they step up and I'm sure they will.

"They've got some pace, they swing the ball and we've got some variations.

"We're going to see some young guys go at it, and someone gets to make a name for themselves in a high-quality series.

"Obviously you've got your superstars like, for us, Steven (Smith) and David (Warner) performing like they normally do, but it gives a chance for the young guys to show how they go about it.

"And I'm sure it's the same for South Africa."

Meg Lanning Steve Smith

About the Writer


Andrew Ramsey is the senior writer for He previously wrote for the Guardian, The Australian, The Times, The Telegraph, The Hindu and Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and the author of The Wrong Line.

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