Australia on Wednesday (April 19) announced a 17-member squad for the World Test Championship (WTC) final and the first two Ashes Tests, and included under-fire opener David Warner in it.
Warner’s Test form has been a cause of concern since 2022. In 14 matches, the southpaw has scored just 607 runs at an average of 26.39 while he registered scores of 1, 10 and 15 in the three innings that he batted on the tour of India earlier this year.
Despite the underwhelming numbers, Warner has been picked in the WTC final squad that also features Josh Inglis as cover for wicketkeeper Alex Carey, and Marcus Harris and Matthew Renshaw as back-up batters.
While all-rounder Mitchell Marsh earned a recall to the Test side, there was no room for batsman Peter Handscomb, who was part of the recent Test tour to India.
Spinners Ashton Agar, Mitchell Swepson and Matt Kuhnemann, who also travelled to India, were sidelined with Todd Murphy getting the nod as second spinner to Nathan Lyon.
Marsh, who has long battled injuries, returns as a likely replacement for Cameron Green should he pick up an injury.
"The UK is a very different assignment from our most recent tour of India and some of the changes are based upon the conditions we are anticipating," said chairman of selectors George Bailey.
"Marcus, Josh and Mitch return to the squad and provide valuable depth and flexibility within their respective skillsets."
Australia will take on India in the second ICC World Test Championship final, scheduled to be held at The Oval in London from June 7 to 11. Subsequently, the Pat Cummins-led side will face England in the iconic Ashes series featuring five Tests at Edgbaston, Lord's, Headingley, Old Trafford and The Oval.
"We see value in revisiting the squad following the second Ashes Test given the short turnaround between the WTC final and the first Ashes Test, along with the length of the tour," Bailey said.
Australia Squad: Pat Cummins (capt), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner
(With AFP Inputs)