As the ICC Cricket World Cup has done and dusted, fans have geared up for the next series. To engage more people in the longer format of the game, the International Cricket Council (ICC) have decided to start championship in Tests as well and the ICC World Test Championship are all set to begin from August 1 in Birmingham.
The championship will run for the two years where nine top-ranked teams will play each other in the home and away series. After all the series, the two team who will have more points, play the final. The final will take place in 2021. The ICC World Test Championship will start with the Ashes where the arch-rivals England and Australia will face each other.
Cricket Australia announced the 17-member Australia squad for the upcoming series. Let’s have a look at the Tests squad:
Although Australia have different openers in the longer format than the limited-overs. Alongside David Warner, Cameron Bancroft has been recalled in the squad who used to open for Australia in the Tests. Both of them have been returning after more than a year after his one-year ban from International Cricket and expected to do well in the upcoming series.
Australia’s middle-order is very much strong with the likes of Steve Smith, Usman Khwaja, Marcus Harris, Travis Head etc. He had played each of the six Tests last summer and finished as the leading run-getter in the Sheffield Shield where he amassed 1188 runs. Travis Head, on the other hand, scored a century in the last Test against Sri Lanka in February earlier this year.
Along with them, Steve Smith is also a great player who has returned in the middle after a one-year ban due to the ball-tampering scandal. On the other hand, Khwaja is also expected to be fit before the series starts.
Although Alex Carey was looking forward to getting selected in the Test squad, he failed to make it to the cut as a back-up wicket-keeper. Tim Paine, the captain, will be there behind the stumps as well. He has scored nearly 1,000 runs from 21 games. His inclusion will give more strength in the batting line up.
Australia have a couple of key bowlers in the form of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Marsh, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon etc. Along with them, fast bowlers James Pattinson and Peter Siddle have been recalled in the squad.
Pattinson’s last played in a Test in February 2016 against New Zealand. He bowled impressive figures of 3/19 in the third innings of Australia’s four-day intra-squad warm-up game in Southampton and got a recall. His last played in Ashes during their tour of England in 2013, where he finished with seven wickets from two matches.
It will be interesting to see how Australia team perform in the ICC World Test Championship after their defeat in the semi-finals of ICC World Cup.
Tim Paine (C, WK), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner