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Cricket news - Wade, Bancroft named in Australia's Ashes squad
Matthew Wade has been named in Australia's 17-man Ashes squad, continuing a remarkable career turnaround for the Tasmanian. Cameron Bancroft returns to the Test side, as does pacer James Pattinson, who last featured in a Test for Australia back in 2016.
Squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Patrick Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner
Medium pacer Michael Neser was also picked in the squad named on Friday (July 26), with Australia opting to go in without a second spinner, naming five frontline pacers, with Mitchell Marsh's medium-pace to assist them. Marsh, who was dropped from all formats during the last Australian summer and missed out on a central contract in April, makes a return. He picked up a five-wicket haul and showcased his skill with the bat in the pre-Ashes game in trying conditions.
"We have chosen 17 players as this gives us the cover and flexibility we believe we will need to ensure we are in good shape throughout a demanding schedule of five Test matches in just over six weeks. We believe the squad is an excellent blend of high-quality batsmen and top-class fast bowlers, plus Nathan Lyon, who we regard as the world's best off-spinner in all conditions. It is a good mix of all the talents," said Chairman of Selectors Trevor Hohns.
"We have had excellent preparations for this series, with eight players from this squad forming part of the Australia A tour that has been in the UK for more than a month, six who took part in the ICC Cricket World Cup, and three who have been playing county cricket. It means the players are acclimatised and ready for the first Test.
"James Pattinson has demanded inclusion after impressing everyone on the Australia A tour with his pace and control, following on from a good season at home for Victoria, and he returns to the Test squad, as does Peter Siddle, who has been in fine form in county cricket for Essex.
"Josh Hazlewood comes back after missing the Sri Lanka Test series and the ICC Cricket World Cup as he recovered from a back injury and James, Peter and Josh, plus Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Michael Neser form a strong seam attack, with all-rounder Mitchell Marsh also returning to the squad after impressing with bat and ball on the Australia A tour."
Bancroft stormed into contention for the opener's slot alongside David Warner with an unbeaten 93 in the pre-Ashes warm-up match. He will be returning to the Australian national set-up for the first time after having served his nine-month ban for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal. It will be the first series since the scandal that the three will be part of the same squad.
"David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft have forced their way back into the Test squad through the excellence of their recent performances. David and Steve also have the advantage of being proven players at Test level while Cameron has produced impressive numbers for county side Durham this season and his innings in the intra-squad match in Southampton on a tough pitch was outstanding and showed his quality."
While pace options are aplenty for Australia, they opted to leave out Jon Holland, picking Nathan Lyon as their sole frontline spinner, along with the option of Marnus Labuschagne's wrist-spin.
"We have opted to select one frontline spinner in Nathan Lyon. We have faith in his ability, we know our strength lies in our pace attack and we have Marnus Labuschagne's leg-spin as another spin option as he has bowled almost 200 overs for county side Glamorgan in first-class cricket this season."
Wade, who will double up as a back-up wicketkeeper but play as a specialist batsman, has been recalled on the back of his stints for Australia A and Tasmania in recent months. Wade scored 10 and 7 in the intra-club game in Southampton recently, but in his first two outings for Australia A, he made 117 and 155 before backing it up with a century against England Lions earlier in the month. He also scored 1021 runs in 10 Shield games last summer. His inclusion, however, means Alex Carey misses out, who will now feature for Sussex in the County Championship.
"Matthew Wade fully deserves his recall as he has made an irresistible case for inclusion through sheer weight of runs with 1021 first-class runs at home last summer followed by three hundreds on the Australia A tour, including an excellent 114 against the England Lions at Canterbury last week."
Joe Burns and Kurtis Patterson, who scored centuries against Sri Lanka in February have missed out for the inclusions of Warner and Smith.
"It has been a difficult task to reduce the 25-player squad here in Southampton down to 17 and those who have not made the final Ashes party are all desperately unlucky. However, that problem also highlights that we have a degree of depth to select from and that is a terrific positive.
"We have not won an Ashes series in the United Kingdom since 2001 but we are confident that this group of players can break that cycle and ensure we retain the urn that we won at home in the summer of 2017-18."
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