A Western Australian batsman and a New South Wales bowler who both now call Victoria home are the two new faces in the Australian Test squad which has been announced today.
Opening batsman Marcus Harris and fast bowler Chris Tremain are the two uncapped players who have been included in the squad for the opening two Tests against India, the first of which starts in Adelaide on December 6th.
Harris’ innings of 250 not out against New South Wales in late October has been the stand out innings amongst aspiring test batsmen in the first four rounds of Sheffield Shield action. He followed that up with half centuries against South Australia and Tasmania to earn his call up.
Harris made his debut for Western Australia as a teenager and became the youngest player to score a first class 150 in just his third match in 2010/11.
His career began to blossom when he moved to the Bushrangers in 2016. Since arriving in Melbourne he has scored 1951 runs at an average of 47.5.
Tremain has taken 24 wickets in his four Shield outings so far this campaign at an average of 20.45. The 27 year old from Dubbo topped the Shield wickets table last season with 51 victims and has forced his way into the squad with his consistency.
In a statement, national selector Trevor Hohns said Harris had earned his spot by playing well in big games.
“Marcus Harris has forced his way into the squad after an impressive start to the Sheffield Shield campaign for Victoria, and in recent times has performed in high pressure matches, including Sheffield Shield finals,” Hohns said.
“Not only has he made plenty of runs, he’s displayed the mental application we believe is required to compete at Test cricket.”
Tremain’s path to a baggy green cap is more difficult as Australia’s fast bowling stocks in rude health with Starc, Cummins, Hazelwood and Siddle all available.
Hohns made it clear Tremain is next in line.
“Chris Tremain has also been performing consistently with the ball for Victoria. His form in the Sheffield Shield has seen him become the second highest wicket taker in the competition this season.
“He has also been a consistent wicket taker over the past two seasons, and thoroughly deserves his place in the squad.”
Opening batsman Usman Khawaja has recovered from a meniscal tear in his left knee sustained in a training session during the second Test in the UAE against Pakistan.
“We’ve been really impressed with the way Usman Khawaja has applied himself through his rehabilitation and he’s left no stone unturned in his bid to return in Adelaide.”
“Barring any set-backs, all the signs are indicating he will be available for the first Test. We saw how well he performed against Pakistan in the UAE, and we hope he can recapture that form over the summer.” Hohn said.
Peter Handscomb also returns to the squad having missed the tour of UAE. His Shield form has been modest this season so far but his 123 against South Australia at the MCG recently was enough to earn a recall.
Matt Renshaw, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Jon Holland and Brendan Doggett are the players who were omitted from the squad that faced Pakistan.
Labuschagne took seven wickets at an average of just over 22 in his two Tests and will no doubt figure in the action at same stage in the series.
Hohns said the door remained open for those who were left out.
“As I’ve said in the past we know the quality of the players mentioned previously, and with a big summer program ahead opportunities may well present themselves for them, as well as others not included in this squad.”
Pat Cummins (New South Wales)
Aaron Finch (Victoria)
Peter Handscomb (Victoria)
Marcus Harris (Victoria)
Josh Hazlewood (VC – New South Wales)
Travis Head (South Australia)
Usman Khawaja (Queensland)
Nathan Lyon (New South Wales)
Mitch Marsh (VC – Western Australia)
Shaun Marsh (Western Australia)
Tim Paine (C – Tasmania)
Peter Siddle (Victoria)
Mitchell Starc (New South Wales)
Chris Tremain (Victoria)