Sport Mark Steketee to replace injured paceman Michael Neser in Pakistan tour squad
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Mark Steketee to replace injured paceman Michael Neser in Pakistan tour squad

Mark Steketee has been named to replace the injured Michael Neser in the Test squad to tour Pakistan. Photo: AAP
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Uncapped fast bowler Mark Steketee has been called into Australia’s Test squad, replacing fellow Queenslander Michael Neser.

The 28-year-old will be off to Pakistan for Australia’s first tour of the country in 24 years.

Neser suffered a side strain injury in Queensland’s domestic one-day clash with New South Wales on Monday.

It is a cruel blow for the paceman, who impressed on Test debut against England in December before being left out for the next match at the MCG.

Steketee will line up in Friday’s Sheffield Shield game against Victoria in a final chance to impress before heading overseas.

Bulls teammates Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Swepson will join Steketee in the match at the Junction Oval in Melbourne.

Steketee has taken 182 wickets at 25.67 in 51 first-class matches, taking eight wickets in Queensland’s last-start defeat against NSW.

The unknowns of touring Pakistan and the challenges of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic led selectors to naming a mammoth 18-man squad.

Star batter Steve Smith suffered a concussion during Australia’s Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka but is not considered to be in any doubt for the tour.

The first match of Australia’s three-Test tour of Pakistan gets under way on March 4 in Rawalpindi.

It will be Australia’s first overseas tour since the 2019 Ashes and the team’s first Test series since Justin Langer’s resignation as coach earlier this month.

-AAP