Uncapped duo included in Australia’s Test squad

"Steve was the highest wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield last season and we are confident he can perform at the next level"

“Steve was the highest wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield last season and we are confident he can perform at the next level”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and New South Wales spinner Steven O’Keefe could both make their Test debuts against Pakistan after being included in the Test squad for the upcoming tour of the United Arab Emirates.

Batsman Phillip Hughes and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell have both been included in the squad as well.

The decision to include these four players could pay off big time since there are doubts about whether captain Michael Clarke and all-rounder Shane Watson will be fit for the tour.

Clarke is currently undergoing a rehabilitation programme for his hamstring injury, while Watson is nursing an ankle injury.

If both players are ruled out of the tournament, it will be a huge blow for Australia since they are already without the services of pace bowler Ryan Harris, who is still recovering from knee surgery, and batsman Shaun Marsh, who is recuperating from elbow surgery.

Despite not being awarded a central contract for the 2014-15 season, batsman Alex Doolan managed to retain his place in the squad.

“We have picked Steve O’Keefe as the extra spinner for the Test tour,” national selector Rod Marsh said. “We are unsure what pitch conditions we will encounter in the UAE but we need to be prepared to play two spinners. Steve was the highest wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield last season and we are confident he can perform at the next level.

“Glenn [Maxwell] is a talented allrounder who enjoys playing on dry pitches. Phil [Hughes] has been in excellent form and has been rewarded with a place in the Test squad. His attitude to his game has been first rate and he thoroughly deserves this opportunity.

“Mitch Marsh is a player of immense talent and is a bright prospect for the future of Australian cricket. His form with Australia A has been fantastic and he carried that through to the recent Zimbabwe tour. If he gets his opportunity, we know he will make the most of it.”

Australia have also included uncapped New South Wales all-rounder Sean Abbott in their ODI and Twenty20 squad.

Uncapped Queensland leg-spinner Cameron Boyce and pace bowler Pat Cummins, who has not played any international cricket for two years, have also been drafted into the Twenty20 squad.

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