Allrounder Glenn Maxwell has been included along with specialist spinners Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty in Australia’s 17-man squad for the four-test series in India starting next month.
Selectors on Thursday announced a large and diverse range of bowling options, including five pacemen, two specialists spinners, uncapped allrounder Maxwell who bats in the middle order and bowls offbreaks and medium pace allrounder Moises Henriques.
Vice-captain Shane Watson was picked as a specialist batsman and opener David Warner was included despite a thumb injury which has ruled him out of the five-match limited-overs series against the West Indies starting Friday. Batsmen Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith have also been included as Australia searches for long-term replacements for recently-retired veterans Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey.
James Pattinson returns to the test lineup after injury to join a five-strong pace attack including Peter Siddle, Jackson Bird, Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson.
The Australians will play two warmup matches in Chennai before the first test starts Feb. 22.
“We have a good opportunity for members of the squad to get well acclimatized to the conditions,” selection committee chairman John Inverarity said. “This squad has the flexibility that will be required for the varying conditions expected in India and it will provide valuable experience to a number of young players.”
The 24-year-old Maxwell has played only seven limited-overs internationals for Australia, scoring 146 runs at an average of 24.33 and not taking any wickets, but is considered a player of the future after setting a domestic record with a half century from 19 balls for Victoria against Tasmania in a limited-overs match.
Doherty hasn’t played test cricket since his two tests in the Ashes defeat at home in 2010-11, while Smith also played the last of his five tests in that series loss to England.
“It’s a long tour and a very important one as we look to continue our improvement in test cricket and our quest to return to the top of the ICC test cricket rankings,” Inverarity said. “We are also building toward back-to-back Ashes series.”
Michael Clarke (captain), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty, Jackson Bird.