Cricket Australia (CA) has taken an important call of scheduling an Ashes warm-up match in England between Australia’s best 22 players.
As per a report in news.com.au, Australia will face Australia ‘A’ next year with the four-day game expected to serve as the tourists’ final tune-up before the first Test commences at Edgbaston on August 1.
It is learnt that the match will take place at the Rose Bowl in Hampshire, starting on July 23. The Australia ‘A’ game is likely to be particularly important for banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner, who both met with head coach Justin Langer recently and are expected to be part of Australia’s 2019 World Cup squad.
The main reason cited while pushing for Smith and Warner to feature in the second half of Sheffield Shield season was that denying them first- class cricket in 2019 could have an effect on their hopes of Ashes selection.
Even though nothing can replicate the intensity of a Test match, Australia ‘A’ is likely to have some players who will be the part of Ashes squad and thus will provide a stern challenge for Tim Paine’s side. According to Cricket records, Australia hasn’t played an official tour match against Australia A since January 1995.
Just a week ago, Cricket Australia upheld the ball-tampering suspensions on Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft. While Smith and Warner were given 12-month bans, Bancroft was handed a nine-month suspension under CA's Code of Conduct for their roles in the disgraceful ball-tampering plot against South Africa at Newlands in March.
Bancroft's ban is due to expire on December 29 whereas Smith and Warner will not be eligible to return until March 29, 2019.