Wed. May 25th, 2022

New Australian captain Pat Cummins has confirmed the XI he will take with him in the inaugural Vodafone Men’s Test match, with Travis Head winning the race to hit No. 5, while Mitch Starc retains his place in the bowling attack.

The announcement came at the official launch of the Test series as players crouched around the crystal copy trophy.


Australia XI: Marcus Harris, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.


Cummins said it was a “tight one” between Head and Queensland captain Usman Khawaja to strike in the middle order, but Head’s position as the newer Test representative for the Aussies gave him the advantage over the 34-year-old Khawaja, who will turn 35 later this month , and is eight years older than the South Australian.

“It was a tight one. Both really good options, really strong form,” Cummins said.

The official Ashes series is launched on Gabba // Getty
The official Ashes series is launched on Gabba // Getty

“The experience is great from Uzzie and we feel really lucky to have it in the squad, but Trav has played a lot for us the last few years.

“He’s gone away and he’s run races in England, here in Australia, and we feel he’s really ready to go.”

The public approval of the site, which is still three days out after the coin toss on Wednesday morning, follows the trend set by national voter George Bailey, who publicly approved Victorian Marcus Harris which opens in early November.

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Harris has since credited allowing him to focus on the task instead of worrying about selection issues, saying, “It was just good to have some clear communication with a voter about what I was doing, what was on their minds. “and what was in their mindset for me. I think it’s good for your confidence as a player to know where you stand and to have the support of (selectors) is really good.”

While Cummins was happy to confirm a side, English captain Joe Root refused to follow suit, but said spinner Jack Leach remained in contention to play.

“We have all the options on the table (but) we are not going to name a team yet,” Root said. “We’ll have to see the exact forecast and how that pitch changes over the next few days.

“But it’s a great place to play spin. It’s something we want to weigh up and consider, but we are not able to make that call right now.”

Australia’s selectors have maintained the faith with the ‘Big Three’ combination of Cummins, Starc and Josh Hazlewood, which has amassed 631 test wickets.

Starc had been in doubt about keeping his place, especially with Jhye Richardson taking 15 wickets in his last two Sheffield Shield matches – including eight at Gabba last month – bowling with accuracy and burning pace.

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Cummins said Starc and Hazlewood would likely still take the new ball, with the new captain keeping himself in reserve for the first shift.

On Saturday, Australia’s head coach Justin Langer gave strong support to the sitting tempotrios’ preparation, despite the wet Brisbane weather ahead.

“(Your preparation) has been excellent,” Langer said. “We had some brilliant center-wicket drills (at Metricon Stadium), we always thought their workload came from the World Cup, and because we went so deep we might have to work a little harder on it, but they” has been amazing.

“They’ve had three or four center-wicket sessions and you saw how the boys bowled (Saturday) – they’re up and running and they’s very confident after the World Cup and with the experience of their careers. So I’m happy that way , they go on. ”

Vodafone men’s ashes

Squads

Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, David Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes , Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

Time schedule

First test: December 8-12, The Gabba

Second test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval

Third test: 26.-30. December, MCG

Fourth test: 5.-9. January, SCG

Fifth test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium

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