Alex Carey captain, Jhye Richardson set to be unleashed against Pakistanis


Jhye Richardson is set to be unleashed against the touring Pakistanis in Perth alongside fellow firebrand Riley Meredith for Australia A. Alex Carey will lead ahead of the recent Test vice-captain Travis Head, and Marcus Harris, Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja will duel for a top order spot.

In one of the strongest Australia A teams chosen to face a touring side in quite some time, Will Pucovski and Nic Maddinson will also take part, alongside a four-man pace attack that also features Sean Abbott and Michael Neser. The Australian team for the first Test at the Gabba will be named at the end of the match and the concurrent Sheffield Shield round.

The selection could be indication that Australian cricket may be developing the sort of depth that the selectors have been seeking for some time. Cameron Bancroft is absent after playing two Tests on the Ashes tour, while Kurtis Patterson is still recovering from a quad injury. Tom Cooper, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Daniel Hughes and Moises Henriques were also left out despite strong starts to the Sheffield Shield.

Carey’s selection as captain underlines his leadership credentials, with the national selector Trevor Hohns recently telling ESPNcricinfo that he would “seriously like to see” the wicketkeeper leading South Australia.

“Alex Carey has proven himself to be an exceptional leader in his role as vice-captain of the Australian men’s One-Day International and Twenty20 International teams,” the national selector Trevor Hohns said. “This fixture represents an opportunity to provide Alex with more leadership experience and he will be supported by two experienced vice-captains in Usman Khawaja and Travis Head.

“In terms of the batting line-up, we were eager to give Khawaja, Head and Marcus Harris another opportunity to push their respective cases for Test selection this summer given all three were part of our winter Ashes campaign. Joe Burns was an unlucky omission for that tour to the UK and deserves a chance to push his case for Test selection in this tour match.

“Additionally, Will Pucovski and Nic Maddinson have started the season strongly for Victoria and we’re looking forward to giving them an opportunity to perform against a quality international team. Both are exciting batsmen whom we’ve had our eye on for some time.”

Richardson was a standout performer in his first two Tests, against Sri Lanka in Brisbane and Canberra last summer, before injury wrecked his Ashes chances. He now has the chance to push for a place in the Test squad alongside Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson.

Abbott’s selection follows on from his calling into the Australian Twenty20 squad against Sri Lanka as a replacement for the injured Andrew Tye, and rewards him for a series of strong bowling displays under the tutelage of the New South Wales bowling coach Andre Adams.

“The pace attack is similarly strong. Sean Abbott has been a very good performer for NSW for the last couple of seasons and has improved with both ball and bat,” Hohns said. “Riley Meredith is an exciting young prospect and a wicket-taking option, while Jhye Richardson continues to improve in his return from shoulder surgery. And Michael Neser has started this season in excellent form after touring with the Ashes squad through the winter.

“We’ve taken into account local conditions as well as individual requirements when selecting this Australia A XI. We have not selected a spinner because we felt they would receive limited opportunities in a three-day day-night fixture in Perth compared to a four-day Sheffield Shield match.

“We will closely monitor performances in this match as well as the coming rounds of the Sheffield Shield before deciding upon our squad for the two-Test series against Pakistan.”

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