With less than a month to go for the iconic Ashes series between Australia and England, Cricket Australia have announced a 15-member squad for the five-match home series starting December 8. The biggest highlight from the squad announcement has to be Usman Khwaja’s recall in the squad on the back of his impressive performances in domestic cricket.
Other than the left-handed top-order batter, Mitchell Swepson and Marcus Harris have also made it to the side that will host England and rekindle the old rivalry. The Australian pace attack will also consist of Michael Neser in addition to Jhye Richardson, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, and Pat Cummins.
It should be noted that Khawaja – Queensland skipper and the leading domestic first-class run-getter this season – last played Test match cricket during the Ashes two years ago in the UK. Quite similar is the case with Australia’s T20 World Cup hero Mitchell Marsh who found his name in an 11-man Australia A squad.
The National Selection Panel has named a 15-player squad for the first two matches of the Vodafone Men's #Ashes Series against England!
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) November 17, 2021
Meanwhile, Tim Paine will continue to lead the side despite not playing a single match in the current season due to a neck injury. However, he is expected to play in the Premier Cricket in Hobart this weekend followed by a four-day second XI match for Tasmania against South Australia days later.
“This group is well balanced to ensure we are prepared for the many challenges of an Ashes Series,” George Bailey, chair of the selection panel, said as quoted in an official release.
“It has a mix of experienced, proven performers and emerging, developing talent,” he added.
“We will take this 15-player squad into the opening Test in Brisbane and the pink ball match in Adelaide, after which we can reassess for the remaining matches,” he stated.
Australia’s Ashes squad: Tim Paine (c), Pat Cummins (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
Australia A players: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh, Matt Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street