Australia on Tuesday announced their Test squad with five uncapped players to enter a new fresh era after the scandal-plagued tour of South Africa early this year, while recalling veteran Peter Siddle.
With the disgraced Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft all suspended for their roles in the ball-tampering row that sparked one of the worst crises cricket has faced in recent times, selectors had slim pickings.
Also missing for the two-Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates next month are injured fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, leaving Australia with one of its weakest Test squads in years.
Among the five debutants are Queensland trio Michael Neser, Brendan Doggett and Marnus Labuschagne, South Australia’s Travis Head and Victoria’s Aaron Finch.
“There has been significant change to our Test squad, due to the unavailability of a number of key players,” said selector Trevor Hohns.
“That said, we firmly believe the squad selected is up to the challenge ahead, and is capable of playing a brand of cricket that can perform well in this series against Pakistan.
“It’s a blend of experienced players who have a significant amount of either Test or first-class cricket, and a number of youngsters who we are confident are ready for the Test arena.”
Three top-order spots were left vacant by Smith, Warner and Bancroft’s absence. Opener Matt Renshaw, who was dumped ahead of the Ashes late last year but returned for the final Test in South Africa, fills one of them after a standout Sheffield Shield season.
The first Test is in Dubai from October 7 followed by second in Abu Dhabi from October 16.
Tim Paine (captain), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc