Western Australia quick a chance of making Test debut against Pakistan as selectors name first Test squad
Morris recalled to Test squad as selectors back Warner in Perth
Lance Morris is a step closer to earning a Baggy Green after being recalled to Australia's Test squad to face Pakistan in Perth.
Australia's selectors opted against locking in a group for the entire series and named a 14-player squad for the first Test only, to be played at Perth Stadium from December 14, with Morris the only uncapped player.
Cameron Green, who lost his spot in the XI to Mitch Marsh during the Ashes, has been named in the squad, with Alex Carey retained as wicketkeeper after being dumped as Australia's one-day gloveman during the World Cup campaign.
Australia' First Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Lance Morris, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc, David Warner
Scott Boland has also been named in the squad and Nathan Lyon returns at the expense of Todd Murphy, having recovered from the calf injury that ruled him out of the Ashes series, but selectors have opted against naming a specialist back-up batter with a looming showdown in the Prime Minister's XI clash in Canberra.
David Warner, who was outstanding in the field and as Australia's leading run-scorer at the ODI World Cup, remains on track to get his wished for send-off from Test cricket on home turf in Sydney, but the decision to name a squad for the first Test only renews interest in next week's PM's XI match.
Warner's Test returns have been steadily slipping – he averages 28 in Test cricket since the 2019-20 summer when he cashed in with a triple-ton during Pakistan's last visit – and has stated he wants this summer's New Year's Test to be his final hurrah in the Baggy Green but will play on in the white-ball formats.
Men's selection panel chair George Bailey said the incumbents had "earnt the opportunity to start in our first home Test match" since an incredible winter for Australian cricket that saw them win the World Test Championship and successfully retain the Ashes in England.
"As ever, there will be opportunities in the short to medium term to break into this squad and we look forward to seeing the continued strong performances from players who have been performing domestically, many of whom will get a tremendous opportunity in the PM’s XI fixture against Pakistan later this week," Bailey said.
That PM's XI clash has been billed as a showdown between opening batter rivals Cameron Bancroft, Matthew Renshaw and Marcus Harris, and will also include Green, who showed his class with a fluent 96 at the Gabba in the final round of Marsh Sheffield Shield cricket before it breaks for the KFC BBL.
Morris, who is capable of hitting 150kph, has played three of Western Australia's six Shield games on his comeback from a back stress injury that ruled him out of this winter's Ashes series, netting 11 wickets at 25.54.
The 25-year-old has spoken this season about how much he learned from the influence England quick Mark Wood had on this year's Ashes, particularly in terms of his fitness and preparation.
"It goes to show how much time you need to put into your body ... That's the key factor really, how fit you are and how conditioned you are to bowling," Morris told cricket.com.au.
"It's a pretty clear reflection of how quick you're bowling, and how long you can sustain it for. You have to invest a lot of time into your body and performance, and that's probably something I've gotten a lot better at.
"When you first come into a first-class system or a state system, for me I was very raw and I had no idea in terms of recovery and what a proper gym session looks like or stretching out before a game. It's those small things that all add up really. All the one percenters you can do to literally stay on the park."
While a partisan WA crowd would no doubt love to see all of Morris, Green and Marsh in the Test XI, it would appear unlikely.
The Aussie squad is expected to assemble in Perth on December 9.
While no fast bowler will feature in the opening stages of the BBL, batters Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith have already been confirmed to turn out for their sides' opening fixtures.
Khawaja and Labuschagne are set to play for the Brisbane Heat in their season opening clash against Glenn Maxwell's Melbourne Stars at the Gabba on Thursday, while Smith is expected to turn out for the Sydney Sixers the following night at the SCG against the Melbourne Renegades.
The Perth Test, now known as 'The West Test', will be fans' first chance to celebrate the sensational winter for Australian cricket, and is Australia's first Test on home soil since they beat India to win the World Test Championship in London mid-year.
Thirteen of the current squad were involved in the WTC final and successful Ashes defence, while 10 of the Test squad named today were also involved in the successful ODI World Cup campaign in India.
NRMA Insurance Test series v Pakistan
Prime Minister's XI v Pakistan XI: December 6-9, Manuka Oval (10.30am AEDT)
First Test: December 14-18, Perth Stadium (1.20pm AEDT)
Second Test: December 26-30, MCG (10.30am AEDT)
Third Test: January 3-7, SCG (10.30am AEDT)
Australia squad: (First Test only) Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Lance Morris, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc, David Warner
Pakistan squad: Shan Masood (c), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Saud Shakeel and Shaheen Shah Afridi