Australia Announces 14-Player Squad for New Zealand Test Series
Australia has finalised a 14-player squad for the upcoming two-Test series against New Zealand, set to commence later this month.
The current ICC World Test Championship winners will be heading to New Zealand with a squad similar to the one that faced the West Indies on home ground last month. The experienced fast bowler, Michael Neser, has been added to the team for the two-Test series, which kicks off in Wellington on February 29.
Pat Cummins will once again captain the team, leading a formidable bowling line-up that includes Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, and Nathan Lyon. Vice-captain Steve Smith is expected to continue in his new role as opener, alongside veteran Usman Khawaja.
Despite Neser likely being behind Cummins, Hazlewood, Starc, and fellow fast bowler Scott Boland for a spot in the final XI, chief selector George Bailey emphasised the importance of having another pace option on the tour, should conditions call for it.
“It’s great to see Michael Neser get another opportunity in the squad following his consistent performances over a long period of time and the conditions we expect,” Bailey said.
“Every Test match provides vital opportunities to obtain valuable WTC points and we expect this tour to be a tough challenge against a very strong side who have been so consistent at home for a long period of time.”
Australia currently holds the second place on the World Test Championship standings, with New Zealand leading the table following their 285-run victory over South Africa at home earlier this month.
The first Test is scheduled from February 29 to March 4 in Wellington, with the series concluding in Christchurch from March 8.
World Test Championship Standings
Australia Test Squad:
Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc
First Test: February 29 – March 4, Wellington
Second Test: March 8-12, Christchurch