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Friday, May 14, 2021
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Australia name Test squad for South Africa

Australia has named their 19-man squad for their Test series against South Africa with Tim Paine to lead the national team once again.

Confirmation of the tour to South Africa remains subject to satisfactory biosecurity arrangements, with discussions between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and Cricket Australia (CA) ongoing. The full dates of the series are yet to be confirmed.

Cricket Australia last September agreed in principle to the concurrent tours as part of its commitment to playing its role in international cricket’s recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia has been forced to name two separate squads as the Test Series in South Africa coincides with a T20I series in New Zealand.


Tim Paine (c) (Tasmania)
Pat Cummins (vc) (New South Wales)
Sean Abbott (New South Wales)
Alex Carey (South Australia)
Cameron Green (Western Australia)
Marcus Harris (Victoria)
Josh Hazlewood (New South Wales)
Travis Head (South Australia)
Moises Henriques (New South Wales)
Marnus Labuschagne (Queensland)
Nathan Lyon (New South Wales)
Michael Neser (Queensland)
James Pattinson (Victoria)
Will Pucovski (Victoria)
Steve Smith (New South Wales)
Mitchell Starc (New South Wales)
Mark Steketee (Queensland)
Mitchell Swepson (Queensland)
David Warner (New South Wales)
The Australian men’s Test squad will be captained by Tim Paine and coached by Justin Langer.

Many questions were raised about the Australia team after a poor Test series at home against India that resulted in a 2-1 loss but Australia has resisted change and named a similar squad.

Paine came under fire for some questionable tactics in the India series but has remained as captain of the national side with Carey named as the backup wicket keeper. Matthew Wade has been axed from the Test squad but will travel to New Zealand for the T20I series.

Starc and Lyon also faced scrutiny after a poor series with the ball but have kept their place in the squad.

Starc in particular faces some stiff competition to retain his place in the side, with fellow fast bowlers James Pattinson, Michael Neser, Shaun Abbott and Mark Steketee all named to tour South Africa.

Leg spinner Mitchell Swepson is the only other specialist spinner to be named in the squad with Lyon.

National selector Trevor Hohns said he was confident the Australian men’s team would rebound strongly from the thrilling, though ultimately unsuccessful, India series should the Test tour of South Africa be confirmed.

“When presented with the challenging task of selecting two concurrent Australian men’s squads for overseas tours, we picked our first-choice Test squad given the importance of the proposed series against South Africa,” Hohns said.

“The squad is quite similar to that selected for the final two Tests of the recently-completed Border-Gavaskar series, with the exception of Matt Wade, who will join the Australian men’s T20I squad in New Zealand, and the addition of Alex Carey, who has been in strong form with both bat and gloves.

“David Warner, Will Pucovski and Marcus Harris all opened at different stages against India and should be well-suited to the conditions in South Africa. Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith were in good form during the Australian summer and Travis Head has an opportunity to reclaim the No. 5 spot.

“We’ve been very impressed with Cameron Green’s first foray into Test cricket as an all-rounder batting at No. 6 and we have great depth with the in-form Moises Henriques also in the squad.

“Tim Paine was excellent at No.7 against India and as a batsman, wicketkeeper and captain still has much to offer in the Test arena.

“Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Swepson offer wonderful spin bowling options for South African conditions, Similarly, we like the skill, execution and variation offered by our pace corps of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Sean Abbott and Mark Steketee.

“It is testament to the depth of Australian cricket that the NSP has been able to select two Australian men’s international squads of such quality.”

Cricket Australia’s Executive General Manager, National Teams Ben Oliver said the recent criticism of Paine was not accurate and praised his leadership.

“Tim Paine has been an outstanding captain since taking over the Australian men’s Test team in incredibly difficult circumstances,” Oliver said.

“Tim has the support of the team, the coach and everyone else at Cricket Australia and the result of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series has done nothing to diminish that.

“Tim is in career-best form with the bat and, while the series against India was not his best with the gloves by his own admission, he remains in the top echelon of wicketkeepers globally.

“And as a leader, he has been brilliant. To captain a squad through the many challenges presented by the pandemic – not least the unique pressures of hub life – is no easy task and Tim did that with strength, humility and good humour.

“After a series that attracted so much global interest, it was inevitable there’d be scrutiny. But some of the commentary surrounding Tim and his position as Test captain has been wide of the mark.

“We’re fortunate to have such outstanding Australian team captains in Tim, Aaron and Meg.”

Predicted starting XI

  1. David Warner
  2. Will Pucovski
  3. Marnus Labuschagne
  4. Steve Smith
  5. Travis Head
  6. Cameron Green
  7. Tim Paine
  8. Pat Cummins
  9. James Pattinson
  10. Nathan Lyon
  11. Josh Hazlewood

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