Maxwell, Handscomb dumped for Tests against Pakistan; Finch, Siddle recalled

Peter Siddle eliminated Kane Williamson from his second ball of the game © Getty Images

Glenn Maxwell and Peter Handscomb have been considered surpluses to the requirements in the first Australian test squad since the ball handling scandal of Newlands, with the experienced Victorian pair of Aaron Finch and Peter Siddle summoned a team to fill the abyss of experience left by Steven Smith, David Warner and the injured Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

Another member of Australia's previous test team, Joe Burns, has also been ruled out, and the captain of South Australia, Travis Head, has conceded a long shot. The Bulls' conscientious middle-range hitter, Marnus Labuschagne, was delayed to be included in the team after being summoned to Australia A as a substitute injury for Matt Renshaw, who has also been included.

The top beat of Brendan Doggett has seen him win a place alongside Michael Neser and Ashton Agar, who will serve as the bowler back to Nathan Lyon and the Victorian Jon Holland. New coach Justin Langer's loyalty to Mitchell and Shaun Marsh has included both, the former a possible candidate for vice-captaincy when the Board of Directors of Cricket Australia deliberates on the identity of Paine's lieutenant in the coming days.

The exclusion of Maxwell, at a time when Australia's test batting stocks have rarely been lower, is a grim signal for future prospects of the 29-year-old's test match. Trevor Hohns, the president of the national team, explained that the omissions of Maxwell, Handscomb and the fast bowler of Western Australia Jhye Richardson were intended to encourage the trio to demand a place through national performances.

"Joe, Peter and Glenn were players that we discussed when selecting the batting team, but we had to take into account the conditions and the competition we will face in the next series," said Hohns. "All three remain on our radar for the test Cricket, but we want them to perform for their States and continue to push their case ahead of what will be a great 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 the bowlers in development that adds to the depth of our bowling group fast, and we see he potentially has an important role to play in the shorter formats of the game in the immediate future. "

In selecting Finch and Siddle, Langer and the selection panel seem to have tried to instill into the team experienced leaders, able to help Paine rebuild the culture and identity of the team after the traumas of South Africa. Siddle last played a test for Australia in 2016 at WACA Ground, when he was broken by an injury after being sent back to the team, and was described as a "warrior" by Hohns.

"Peter is a proven performer at the Arena Test, who has been in excellent shape on his recent first class outings in England," said Hohns. "His experience will be crucial for this bowling group, and we know that he is a warrior who can play the kind of long, tight spells that may be required in the conditions we hope to face.

"Aaron is in sensational form, and this is the right time to give him the opportunity to play Test Cricket, he has performed well in Sheffield Shield in recent seasons and brings additional experience and leadership to this group. immensely in the last 12 months, and is the type of player we want in this environment, he is a great worker who has performed well in the last four days of opportunities for Australia A and South Australia.

"Michael is a complete and strong cricketer, he plays well and he is a mature player coming from a fantastic season in Sheffield Shield for Queensland, he has impressed us with his performances for Australia A and his cue ball. Marnus is a young player with a lot of potential and a great work ethic, he has worked well in Sheffield Shield, he has shown that he is a good spin player for Australia A in India, and he is an elite player who offers variety with the ball as a leg turn option. "

Doggett's selection, after only nine first-class matches, including the current Australia A, maintains Australia's obsession with high-speed bowlers. Hohns characterized Doggett as Starc's backer, and he would also become the second male cricketer to win a loose green cap, after Jason Gillespie, if he starts.

"Brendan is an exciting prospect, a fast bowler with a raw pace and ability to wicket-taking," said Hohns. "It provides an additional option to Mitchell Starc if an additional rhythm is required, and this is an ideal opportunity to involve him in a national organization for the first time after his recent presentations in Queensland and Australia A.

"There was a significant change in our testing team, due to the lack of availability of several key players, and we firmly believe that the selected team is up to the challenge ahead and is able to play a cricket brand that can perform well in this series against Pakistan There are five possible debutants in the team, all of whom have won the selection through their performances and deserve this opportunity.

"It's a mix of experienced players who have a significant amount of trial or first-class cricket, and a number of younger players we trust are ready for the test arena, looking at the conditions we can face in the Emirates. Arab Emirates, we believe that this squad covers all the bases, we have selected four fast launchers and three frontline spinners, with Mitchell Marsh ready to play as an all-rounder and a number of first-class hitters that also offer turn-in options in time partial "

Australian Squad: Tim Paine (capt, wk), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh , Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.


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