Darren Lehmann says Australia is in no rush to lock down their likely 15-man squad for the Bangladesh tour, despite facing their biggest shakeup in recent memory.
With veteran batsmen Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers both now retired, several middle order options woefully out of form, and a fatigued fast bowling corps desperate for a rest ahead of the Australian summer, a revamped lineup is assured in October’s two-Test series.
It shapes as a fascinating first series under the leadership of newly-installed captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner – the only two top-six batsmen assured of a spot in the starting XI.
Pace trio Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood all deserve a break, but it is unlikely Cricket Australia would leave all three out – with 34-year-old Johnson the most likely to be given time off.
Starc, who starred in the World Cup earlier this year and will lead the Australian attack in the upcoming one-day series against England, is also in danger of being overworked.
Hazlewood, meanwhile, was rested from Australia’s dead rubber victory in the fifth and final Ashes Test at the Oval with Lehmann and the selectors worried about burnout early in his international career.
It opens the door for young gun Pat Cummins to make a long-awaited return to Test cricket where he can add to his memorable 2011 debut in South Africa – to date his one and only Test.
NSW quick Gurinder Sandhu is also a possibility to force his way into the Test squad, and comes with the added skill of having bowled off-spin during Australia A’s recent tour of India.
West Australian Cameron Bancroft is a popular pick as the replacement for opener Rogers, but selectors could also opt for the familiar face of Joe Burns, who has experience opening for Queensland and who made his Test debut in the middle order last summer.
Usman Khawaja captained Australia A in India and is favoured to be recalled, while 35-year-old Adam Voges should earn a reprieve after hitting consecutive half-centuries to close out an otherwise disappointing Ashes series.
“We’ll let the dust settle, play the one-day series and then pick the side moving forward for Bangladesh and then the home summer,” Lehmann said.
Allrounder Mitch Marsh had a mixed return from his maiden Ashes campaign, struggling with the bat while excelling with the ball as he claimed eight wickets at 18.62.
Lehmann admitted it was effectively the opposite of what they expected of the 23-year-old, who has been regarded primarily as a batting allrounder during his fledgling first-class career.
“As a coach I’ll say yes (he is worth persisting with),” Lehman said.
“As a selector, I need to speak to the other selectors.
“For me he bowled very well in this Test series, and at the start we were worried about his bowling.
“That’s not the issue now, it’s more the batting in these conditions.”
Ashton Agar has been welcomed back into the Australian setup with a call-up for the ODI fixtures, which start with a clash against Ireland on Thursday, and has the inside running on the back-up spinning role behind Nathan Lyon while allrounder Glenn Maxwell provides cover.
Steve Smith (capt), Ashton Agar, Joe Burns, Patrick Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill (wk), Gurinder Sandhu, Peter Siddle, Adam Voges, David Warner.