Vodafone Test Series v India
Star quartet set for white-ball diet ahead of India Tests
Absence of red-and-pink-ball match practice looms for four of Australia's key players, though thorough preparation under coach Langer awaits
29 October 2020, 05:30 PM AEST
The big-name quartet of Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood look set to head into the blockbuster Border-Gavaskar Test series without having played a first-class match in at least 11 months.
In addressing the media today, national selector Trevor Hohns said it was "more than likely" those four players would be absent from the Australia A matches that lead into the four-Test series, which present as their only opportunities for red-or-pink-ball cricket prior.
Hohns did say however that Smith, Warner, Cummins and Hazlewood would begin "preparing for red-ball cricket" upon their returns to Australia from the Indian Premier League, with the potential for those players to be rested from one or multiple matches of the white-ball series against India (November 27 – December 8) as selectors seek to "do whatever we can to get the best out of them for the Test match series".
"We'll obviously be talking to our players about that sort of thing, but (Smith, Warner, Cummins and Hazlewood) are potentially all-format players, so once they return from the IPL and they get through their quarantine, it will be probably prudent for them to start preparing for red-ball cricket," Hohns said.
"That may or may not be in that (second) Australia A game, and more than likely it won't be."
In a summer unlike any other, the international schedule is complex. Australia's second and third T20Is clash with the first Australia A v India tour match (December 6-8), though Hohns did not rule out some members of what he expects to be a 16-18 man Test squad taking part in that three-day red-ball match in Drummoyne.
That expanded Test squad will travel to Adelaide on December 9, though again, some fringe members of that group appear likely to stay in Sydney to take part in the second Australia A game, a day-night pink-ball clash scheduled for December 11-13.
Smith, Warner, Cummins and Hazlewood are unlikely to be involved in either match, with their Test preparation following the white-ball series expected to be via a full week of training in Adelaide under the watchful eye of national head coach Justin Langer ahead of the pink-ball series opener.
The most recent first-class outing for Smith, Warner and Cummins came in the New Year's Test in Sydney, while for Hazlewood, who has to date only played three IPL matches, the first Test against India will come a tick over a year after he last turned out in whites, when he was injured in last December's first Test against New Zealand.
Warner and Cummins appear the most likely to be rested at times during the back-to-back limited overs series, though Hohns stressed those decisions were yet to be made, with mental health, workloads and appeal for broadcast partners among a wide range of considerations.
"We'll be having discussions with those (four) players to see how they're feeling because their health and wellbeing is priority number one," Hohns said.
"We obviously take everything into account, however … health and wellbeing is a priority for us. We're very mindful of managing our players, and trying at some stage somehow to get them some time at home with their families.
"Of course, Test match cricket is very, very important so there may be other times or areas where we can give our players that play every format in particular a little bit of a break."
Earlier today, national selectors announced an 18-man white-ball squad for the two limited-overs series against India, with young WA gun Cam Green and fellow allrounder Moises Henriques the headliners.
There has already been considerable speculation that 21-year-old Green would force his way into the Test squad for the India series, and Hohns confirmed he was very much in the reckoning.
"We've had our eye on him for some time now," he said. "With his ability to be able to bowl a few overs (together with his batting), he'll come into contention for Test match selection, or at least inclusion in our squad."
India Tour of Australia 2020-21
Australia ODI & T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey , Pat Cummins (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur.
India T20I squad: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy
Australia Test squad: TBA
India Test squad: Virat Kohli (c), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (w), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj
Dettol ODI Series v India
First ODI: November 27, SCG, 2.40pm AEDT
Second ODI: November 29, SCG, 2.40pm AEDT
Third ODI: December 2, Manuka Oval, 2.40pm AEDT
Dettol T20 INTL Series v India
First T20: December 4, Manuka Oval, 7.10pm AEDT
Second T20: December 6, SCG, 7.10pm AEDT
Third T20: December 8, SCG, 7.10pm AEDT
Australia A v India A, December 6-8, Drummoyne Oval
Australia A v Indians, December 11-13, SCG (day-night)
Vodafone Test Series v India
First Test: December 17-21, Adelaide Oval, 3pm AEDT (day-night)
Second Test: December 26-30, MCG, 10.30am AEDT
Third Test: January 7-11, SCG, 10.30am AEDT
Fourth Test: January 15-19, Gabba, 11am AEDT
*The matches and travel remain subject to any relevant government restrictions or requirements.