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Australia have included uncapped pace bowler Andrew Fekete and opener Cameron Bancroft in their Test squad for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh.
Fekete’s inclusion in the squad comes as a surprise, especially since he has only played 18 first-class matches thus far. However, being the second-leading wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield last summer with 37 wickets at an average of 24.10 put him on the national selectors’ radar.
“Andrew bowled really well last summer and followed that up on the A tour,” national selector Rod Marsh said. “He can generate reverse swing and that ability could be extremely useful in the conditions we expect to encounter in Bangladesh.”
Bancroft was chosen based on the fact that Australia are without their two regular openers of David Warner and Chris Rogers. Warner was ruled out of the Bangladesh tour after fracturing his thumb during the recently concluded ODI series against England. Rogers meanwhile announced his retirement from international cricket following the recent Ashes series against England.
“Cameron is a player who impressed everyone on the recent A tour of India,” Marsh said. “He can bat for long periods of time and scored an outstanding 150 against India A in Chennai. On that tour he played spin well, fielded brilliantly at bat-pad and his whole demeanour was that of a player who is determined to play Test cricket. He scored almost 900 first-class runs last season, he’s young, hungry and he could become a very good player for us over a long period of time.”
It has also been confirmed that the pace duo of Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood have been rested for the tour due to their heavy workloads as of late.
“Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood were not considered for the tour as, after heavy workloads over the past six months and with a significant amount of cricket to come, we wanted to make sure they are right to go at the start of our domestic summer,” Marsh said. “We expect both players to start bowling again in the next week or so, hopefully play some Matador Cup and Sheffield Shield cricket for their states and be ready for selection for the first home Test of the season, against New Zealand.”
With opener and vice-captain Warner out of the tour, the national selectors have decided to appoint Adam Voges as Steven Smith’s deputy.
“In Adam we have a hugely experienced player who we feel sure will be a great influence around the group and also someone who will be an invaluable asset for Steve Smith on his first Test tour as captain,” Marsh said.
Meanwhile, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell and Steve O’Keefe have all been recalled given that Rogers, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Shane Watson and Ryan Harris all retired prior to or after the recent Ashes series.
Australia’s tour of Bangladesh will consist of a three-day warm-up game in Fatullah from October 3 to 5 and two Tests in Chittagong and Dhaka.
Australia Test squad: Steven Smith (capt), Adam Voges (vice-capt), Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns, Patrick Cummins, Andrew Fekete, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill, Stephen O’Keefe, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc