Cricket Australia has announced its 17-man squad for the World Test Championship Final and the Ashes series. The team sees the return of Marcus Harris, Mitchell Marsh, and Josh Inglis while leaving out Cameron Bancroft and Michael Neser. David Warner, who had an unlucky tour of India, retains his position.
Selector George Bailey stated that the squad would be reassessed before the second Ashes Test, which follows the Test Championship final against India. Harris, aged 30, scored two centuries in a 601-run Shield season for Victoria but trailed behind Bancroft, who scored 945 runs at 59.06 and hit four centuries. The selection means that Australia has three left-handers for the opening slot.
Marsh, aged 31, played the last of his 32 Tests in the 2019 Ashes series in England. He has suffered various injuries since then, but he demonstrated his potential this season by hitting a rapid century in the only first-class game he played against Tasmania. Marsh will serve as an all-rounder backup to Cameron Green, who will supplement the four-man fast-bowling attack of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Scott Boland, and Josh Hazlewood.
Todd Murphy is the team’s second spinner behind veteran Nathan Lyon. Inglis is the reserve keeper-bat behind Alex Carey. Peter Handscomb and Lance Morris were both excluded from the squad. Bailey said, “Marcus, Josh, and Mitch return to the squad and will provide valuable depth and flexibility within their respective skillsets.”
Australia will depart for the UK in late May, with the squad trimmed down to 15 players for the WTC Final as per ICC rules. The one-off game against India will take place at The Oval from June 7, with the first Ashes Test starting on June 20 at Edgbaston. Bailey added, “The UK is a very different assignment from our most recent tour of India, and some of the changes are based upon the conditions we are anticipating.