MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia named five uncapped players in a raw tour squad to play Pakistan in a test series in the United Arab Emirates, while recalling pace veteran Peter Siddle and dropping middle order batsman Peter Handscomb.
With former captain Steve Smith, opening batsmen David Warner and Cameron Bancroft suspended for ball-tampering, selectors have given one-day international specialist Aaron Finch a chance at a test debut, along with South Africa-born duo Michael Neser and Marnus Labuschagne.
Rookie Brendan Doggett joins a pace attack led by Mitchell Starc, with warhorse Siddle recalled in his first squad in nearly two years.
Regular quicks Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins have been ruled out of the two-test series which starts in Dubai on Oct. 7 and heads to Abu Dhabi for the second match.
South Australia captain Travis Head is the fifth uncapped player and will have a chance to slot into Handscomb’s spot in the middle order.
Two-test spinner Jon Holland joins fellow left-armer Ashton Agar in a slow bowling brigade led by Nathan Lyon.
“There has been significant change to our test squad, due to the unavailability of a number of key players,” selector Trevor Hohns said in a media release.
“That said, we firmly believe the squad selected is up to the challenge ahead, and is capable of playing a brand of cricket that can perform well in this series against Pakistan.”
Aaron Finch, Matt Renshaw, Brendan Doggett, Michael Neser, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (captain), Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Jon Holland, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)