Qantas Tour of South Africa
Five unlucky players to miss Test squad
Take a look at the five players who could be deemed unlucky to miss out on Australia's tour of South Africa
22 January 2018, 02:08 PM AEST
Australia's selectors have kept the faith with the players that regained the Ashes urn, but have still sprung a couple of surprises for the Qantas Tour of South Africa.
Selectors have retained the 13 players they used during their 4-0 Ashes win and added uncapped paceman Jhye Richardson as well as Victorian spinner Jon Holland.
Take a look at the five players who just missed selection for the four-Test series.
The Australians have opted for just one reserve batsman in their squad, staying faithful to Peter Handscomb, meaning Maxwell has again been overlooked. The right-hander was a part of the Test side last year and was called in as cover ahead of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, before returning to the JLT Sheffield Shield and dominating in first-class cricket. All indications are that, if batting reinforcements are needed during the Test series, the competition's leading run-scorer so far this season, would be near the front of the list for a recall. Instead, he'll take part in the T20 tri-series before returning to Shield cricket with Victoria.
A member of Australia's Ashes squad at the start of the summer, Sayers has been overlooked in favour of Western Australian young gun Richardson. Given Richardson is seemingly the fifth of five quicks in the squad, behind Australia's frontline pace trio and Jackson Bird, it's unlikely Sayers would have played much of a role in the series anyway unless injury was to hit two of the main fast bowlers. As a player of the future, Richardson will get some valuable experience on his first Test tour while Sayers will aim to do what he's done so well over the past few years – return to Shield cricket and take plenty of wickets.
Agar has been Nathan Lyon's spin deputy for the past six months, having played two Tests on last year's tour of Bangladesh and been called-up to an extended squad for the Sydney Test earlier this month. But with conditions in South Africa unlikely to call for a dual spin attack, selectors have opted instead for Holland to be with the group should injury strike Lyon during the Test series. It means Agar has been freed up to play the T20 series before he returns to Shield cricket to continue his development in the longest form of the game.
A versatile batsman who can bat anywhere in the top six, Burns was a chance for a recall before a recent groin injury scuppered those plans. The right-hander made a strong case for inclusion with two centuries in the Shield competition, including a maiden double hundred, and he continued to hit the ball well in the KFC BBL. With opener Cameron Bancroft yet to establish himself in the side, selectors confirmed that Burns (who opens for Queensland) would have been considered before injury struck. As it is, the Aussies have opted for just one reserve batsman – Victorian Peter Handscomb – with Shaun Marsh or Usman Khawaja options to open the batting should they be needed.
Having been close to a Test call-up at the start of the summer, Stoinis has been pushed down the pecking order following Mitchell Marsh's emergence in the Ashes series. Selectors are big fans of the Western Australian but have deemed it unnecessary to pick a second seam-bowling allrounder in the squad, although he’d be the most likely replacement should injury hit Marsh during the series. Instead, the powerful allrounder will look to continue his strong international form in the T20 series against New Zealand and England before returning to Shield cricket.
Qantas tour of South Africa
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Jon Holland, Jhye Richardson.
Warm-up match v SA Invitational XI, Sahara Park, Benoni, Feb 22-24
First Test Kingsmead, Durban, March 1-5
Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13
Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3