Perhaps the biggest shock for cricket fans was the omission of Maxwell from Australia's Pakistan Test tour squad. While the dynamic allrounder has been in and out of the Test side, he has been a staple on Asian tours since his debut in the corresponding series in the UAE four years ago. Despite not being selected for the Australia A tour of India, Maxwell said he felt confident he'd be picked for the Pakistan series after a discussion with the selectors in July. A maiden Test century in India last year and surplus experience in Asia would have given the 29-year-old that confidence, but now his attention turns to representing Victoria in the JLT One-Day Cup.
Burns featured in Australia's most recent Test – the fourth and final match of the infamous South Africa tour – but has only played two T20 matches for English county side Glamorgan since. The 29-year-old has played 14 Tests and scored three centuries, but his last two matches have been as a replacement player before being dropped after one game back. Burns was a permanent member of the Test side until he was dropped for the third Test in Sri Lanka in 2016 having made scores of three, 29, zero and two. He wasn't selected on the Australia A tour to India, which was perhaps an indication the right-hander wasn't in the frame for the Pakistan series.
The Victorian is another incumbent from the Johannesburg Test to miss out but it appears a lean run of form has cost him his spot. His past nine complete innings, stretching back to Australia's tour match against South Africa A in Benoni, have yielded 49 runs at 5.44 with three ducks. More than half of those innings were on Australia A's tour of India, were he scored two in each of the one-day matches and zero, eight and eight in the four-day fixtures (with one innings currently underway at the time of writing). A Test batting average of 43.63 and gutsy innings against India and Bangladesh on foreign soil were not enough to earn a ticket to the UAE.
No bowler in the past three JLT Sheffield Shield seasons has taken more wickets than Tremain, but the right-armer missed out to veteran quick Peter Siddle and Queensland speedster Brendan Doggett. Tremain played a lone one-dayer on the Australia A tour and in both first-class matches against India A, taking a combined 4-106 from 40 overs in the four-day fixtures.
Another player on the South Africa tour not to be included, the whippy right-armer has been a constant in Australian teams over the past nine months, playing in the ODI team last summer and in England in June and in the T20I series in Zimbabwe that followed. His presence in South Africa, pace through the air and developing international experience had pundits pencilling him in for the UAE, but the 21-year-old has missed out.
National Selection Panel chairman Trevor Hohns explained the omissions of Maxwell, Burns, Handscomb and Richardson in a media statement today.
"Joe, Peter and Glenn were players we discussed when selecting the batting group, but we had to take into account the conditions and competition we are set to face in the upcoming series," Hohns said.
"All three remain on our radar for Test cricket, but we want them to perform for their states and continue to push their case ahead of what is going to be a big Australian summer.
"Jhye is a player who has a bright future in all formats, and has been impressive in his international opportunities to date.
"He is one of a number of developing bowlers adding to the depth of our fast bowling group, and we see him potentially having an important role to play in the shorter formats of the game in the immediate future."
Australia's Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc