Australia have unveiled their 13-man squad for the upcoming two-match Test series against the West Indies, starting on January 17 in Adelaide, as part of the World Test Championship (WTC) 2023-2025 cycle.
Change in opening slot after David Warner’s retirement
The team, led by Pat Cummins, will witness a notable change in the opening slot, with Steve Smith set to take on the role following David Warner‘s retirement. Chief selector George Bailey confirmed Smith’s move to the top order and described it as a significant chapter in his career.
“Tongue in cheek I could say everything’s an experiment. That’s been part of the discussions with Steve, I believe he’s keen for this to be a significant chapter of his career. We don’t look too far ahead (but) for all intents and purposes, this is where Steve wants to stay,” Bailey was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au
Strategic decision and selfless approach
Bailey emphasized that the decision wasn’t made hastily and acknowledged Smith’s selflessness in accepting a new challenge. The veteran batter, known for his success in the middle order, expressed a keen interest in exploring a different role. The move is viewed as part of an experiment to assess Smith’s performance as an opener before determining a long-term batting position.
“He may do. It’s not something he’s doing on a whim, or he wants to do for one match and see how he goes. It’s selfless that someone who has had so much success in one position or a couple of positions in the middle order is open and willing and hungry to have a crack at something new and something different,” the 41-year-old added.
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Matt Renshaw’s inclusion
In another development, Matt Renshaw secured a spot in the squad, edging out other Test-capped openers Marcus Harris and Cameron Bancroft. However, Renshaw will have to wait on the sidelines initially, with all-rounder Cameron Green expected to return to Australia’s starting XI. Bailey further mentioned that Renshaw and speedster Scott Boland will participate in their respective Big Bash League (BBL) clubs before joining the Test squad.
“Cameron Green will come into the playing XI for the Test in Adelaide in a squad also containing Scott Boland and Matthew Renshaw. We have selected a team we believe contains the best six batters in the country. Scott Boland and Matt Renshaw will join the squad prior to the first Test after playing for the Melbourne Stars [on January 15] and Brisbane Heat [on January 13] in the BBL,” Bailey concluded.
Consistency in bowling attack
The bowling attack will remain unchanged from the recent series against Pakistan, featuring Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc. The series against the West Indies marks a crucial phase for Australia in the ongoing WTC cycle
Australia’s Test squad for West Indies series:
Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head (vc), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Renshaw (only for 2nd Test), Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc
- 1 Change in opening slot after David Warner’s retirement
- 2 Strategic decision and selfless approach
- 3 Matt Renshaw’s inclusion
- 4 Consistency in bowling attack
- 5 Australia’s Test squad for West Indies series: