New faces in Test squad to face NZ, says Waugh | cricket.com.au

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New faces in Test squad to face NZ, says Waugh

Selector foreshadows big changes from young and inexperienced squad picked to tour Bangladesh when Black Caps come calling

Selector Mark Waugh has forecast multiple changes to Australia's Test squad for the upcoming Test series against New Zealand.

The 15-man squad named last month for the Qantas Tour of Bangladesh was one of the most inexperienced in recent memory, with selectors forced to cover for the retirements of five players during the Ashes as well as the absence of Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood (both rested) and David Warner (injured).

Uncapped duo Cameron Bancroft and Andrew Fekete were among 10 players who had played 10 Tests or less in the squad for the two-Test series that was postponed last week due to security concerns.

But being named in the squad for a now postponed tour may be as close as some of those players will get to the Test side, at least in the short term, with Waugh forecasting several changes for the three-match Commonwealth Bank series against the Black Caps, starting at the Gabba on November 5.

"The squad from Bangladesh, it's going to look different for New Zealand. There is no doubt about it," Waugh said.

"Because you didn't have Warner, Hazlewood and Johnson (in the Bangladesh squad), so there's three players straight away you'd imagine would come back into the reckoning for the first Test.

"And with different conditions, you're not going to have two spinners at the Gabba in the first Test.

O'Keefe (right) celebrates a wicket on the Matador opening day // Getty

"There's going to be some guys picked for that tour who are probably going to get shuffled back down the order a little bit, but you can't do anything about it.

"At least their names are there, they got picked for an Australian tour, they can take comfort from the fact they're definitely in the reckoning.

"But the reality is it will be a different 12 for the first Test in Brisbane to what would have been picked in Bangladesh."

The likely absence of a second spinner for the Brisbane Test would leave NSW left-armer Steve O'Keefe on the outer, while it could also hurt the chances of off-spinning allrounder Glenn Maxwell.

The probable returns of Johnson and Hazlewood could leave fellow quicks Fekete and James Faulkner – who was called in to the Test squad to replace the injured Pat Cummins – vulnerable at the selection table.

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Warner's likely return from a thumb injury would leave Australia chasing just one new opener to replace the retired Chris Rogers, with Bancroft doing his chances of retention no harm with a record-breaking 176 against South Australia in Hurstville today.

Fellow WA opener Shaun Marsh also blasted a century against the Redbacks, while Queensland's Joe Burns was dismissed for a first-ball duck in their match against Tasmania.

The postponement of the Bangladesh tour means Australia's Test players will prepare for the NZ series with three weeks of white-ball cricket in the Matador Cup before they face the pink ball under lights in the opening round of the Sheffield Shield.

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The squad for the first Test will be named halfway through that Shield round, to be played on October 28-31.

The absence of red-ball match practice in the lead-in to the Test summer has been countered by Cricket Australia's decision to hold a two-day red-ball training camp for Test players on October 13 and 14.

But when the first Test begins in a month from now, it will be 72 days since Australia's players last played red-ball cricket, which came in the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval.

While hardly the ideal preparation, Waugh said players could still enhance their Test claims with good performances in the Matdor Cup.

"It's a different format, but you've seen players picked from one-day cricket for Test squads before so it does carry over," he said.

"It's a different game obviously. You've got to bat for long periods in Test cricket, one-day cricket the most you can bat is 50 overs. But I think just the form, you can see if guys are batting and bowling well.

Head blasted an amazing double century against Western Australia // Getty

"If you're not doing well it can count against you more so. You want to see all your players performing well.

"I'm not saying you can pick a guy from 50-over cricket, but if you're making runs and taking wickets it doesn't do your chances any harm."

Waugh said the Matador Cup gave players a chance to find form and find some confidence ahead of the three-match series against the Black Caps, which will be followed by three Tests against West Indies.

"It's a good chance to get some cricket under your belt," he said.

"A lot of them were in the Ashes so a lot of them have played a lot of cricket. It's not as if they haven't played much cricket.

"Obviously it's a bit different playing here compared to playing in Bangladesh, but you've just got to take the most out of every game you play.

"There are good batting conditions here (in Bankstown for NSW's game against the CA XI) and I know Cameron Bancroft got a hundred for WA and Shaun Marsh as well.

Bancroft belted a career-best 176 for WA against South Australia // Getty

"It doesn't matter what you play. If you're out there performing it gives you good confidence no matter what form you're playing.

"You don't have a lot of red-ball cricket, but there's still a lot of cricket to be played. Whether that's better than going to Bangladesh in foreign conditions, whether that's a better warm-up, is questionable.

"But players are playing a lot of cricket these days, they're used to swapping and changing formats.

"So whilst it's probably not ideal we didn't play the two Tests in Bangladesh, it gives as a chance for some players to freshen up."