Mitchell Marsh’s Test vice-captaincy prospects were given a boost today after he was named skipper of Australia A’s four-day team that will take on India A in September.
South Australian Travis Head will lead the one-day side that will compete in a tri-series against India A and South Africa A in Vijawada in August ahead of the four-day games.
Marsh leads a 14-man squad packed with international experience, a group featuring Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Joel Paris, Matthew Renshaw and Chris Tremain.
Test legend Adam Gilchrist backed Marsh to be Tim Paine’s vice-captain and now the 26-year-old has a perfect opportunity to display his leadership qualities over two matches against India A in Vizag from September 2.
"We’re looking for leaders for future Australian teams, and Travis, Mitch and Alex are all very impressive young men," national selector Trevor Hohns said.
"Travis and Mitch both have captaincy experience at state level, and this is an exciting opportunity for them to lead a new group of players in different conditions.
"Alex, as our Twenty20 vice-captain in the UK and Zimbabwe, is also someone we rate very highly as a leader, and this is another opportunity for him to develop those skills."
The tour looms as pivotal preparation for Australia’s two-Test tour against Pakistan in the UAE.
Australia were thumped 2-0 in the corresponding Test series four years ago, unable to curtail Pakistan’s rampant batsmen and negotiate the hosts’ potent spin attack.
Joe Burns, Glenn Maxwell and Shaun Marsh, who were in Australia's Test squad for the final match of the infamous Qantas Tour of South Africa, were not included in the four-day squad.
"We’re really pleased with the squads we have assembled for this tour," Hohns said.
"We’ve got a couple of really experienced international cricketers, a large group who have had a taste of playing for Australia already, and some emerging players who have performed strongly and we believe have the potential to one day play for their country.
"It’s an extremely important tour, as we look for players who can adapt and find ways to excel in sub-continent conditions.
"With Australia’s series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates fast approaching, it’s a chance for some players to push for selection for that series, and for all players to gain experience in sub-continent conditions."
Australia A four-day squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain
Australia A one-day squad: Travis Head (c), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Mitch Swepson, Chris Tremain, Jack Wildermuth
One-Day fixtures - Vijayawada
17 August v India A
19 August v South Africa A
23 August v India A
25 August v South Africa A
29 August – Tri-Series Final
Four-Day fixtures - Vizag
2 – 5 September v India A
8 – 11 September v India A