Former national selector Mark Waugh has questioned Glenn Maxwell's omission for the Test series against Pakistan after Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne both made ducks on debut.
But Waugh concedes there are few batsmen banging down the door at domestic level ahead of a tough series against No.1-ranked India in the home summer.
The absence of suspended stars Steve Smith and David Warner was glaring as Australia slumped to a dismal collapse of 10-60 in the first Test in Dubai.
Aaron Finch scored 62 on debut but Head lasted just nine balls and Labuschagne two while batting at No.5 and No.6 respectively.
Pakistan declared their second innings at 6-181 shortly after lunch on day four, setting the tourists a mammoth target of 462 runs.
But Head bounced back on day four with a gritty 34no to give the Australians a sniff of a draw, while Labuschagne is yet to bat.
"It's tough because we've lost our two best batsmen, haven't we?," Waugh said on Fox Cricket.
"And three counting (Cameron) Bancroft, so there's only a certain pool of players that are good enough to play Test cricket.
"It's not the time to panic. I don't think there's many players there that would make a big difference."
The surprise omission of Matthew Renshaw, lacking match fitness after multiple injuries, appeared to be justified when Finch and Usman Khawaja combined for a 142-run opening stand in the first innings and 87 in the second.
But Waugh, who played 128 Tests for Australia, was perplexed by Maxwell's absence after the Victorian scored 707 runs at 50.50 in the last JLT Sheffield Shield season.
Maxwell scored a gutsy century against India in Ranchi last year, becoming the only Australian batsman other than Smith or Warner to have made a ton in Asia over the past two years.
"The only player I would have picked is Glenn Maxwell," Waugh said.
"I think he's a guy with ability, can change the game, he's a good player of spin, he can actually take the attack to the bowling side.
"Maybe you can bring back Matt Renshaw for the second Test ... (but) that's about the best we've got at the moment."
Australia: Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine (c & wk), Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Jon Holland
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz
Qantas Tour of the UAE
Australia 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
Pakistan Test squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Hafeez
Sep 29 - Oct 2: Tour match v Pak A, Dubai
Oct 7-11: First Test, Dubai
Oct 16-20: Second Test, Abu Dhabi