Captain Pat Cummins has revealed why a potential newbie has been snubbed who will replace Travis Head for the upcoming Ashes Test in Sydney.
Australia made a change to the squad that beat England in Melbourne for the fourth Ashes Test at SCG.
Travis Head – who was kicked out after testing positive for Covid-19 – has been replaced by Usman Khawaja.
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Josh Hazlewood and Jhye Richardson are still not 100% fit, so Scott Boland retains his place in the starting XI alongside fellow fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.
There have been calls for the blood of a second spinner in the dead rubber giving a baggy green to the Mitchell Swepson leggy, which has been on the sidelines of a test call for years. But the coaches have chosen not to pair the Queenslander with Nathan Lyon on SCG ground which, despite its reputation over the years, is no longer considered a haven for tweakers.
Several pundits were eager to see Swepson in action as the streak is already 3-0 and the Australians are playing a stack of tests on the subcontinent this year, where a second spinner will be a necessity.
Some argued that the wrist spinner should play in Sydney to facilitate him in the cricket test and give him some experience before tours to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India, while others argued that Australia should just pick his best XI for the remaining two Ashes tests.
Cummins revealed the Sydney squad to reporters on Tuesday morning and said Swepson missed the game because the SCG wicket was not suited to playing two slow bowlers.
Meanwhile, Boland retains his place after posting an astonishing 6/7 in the second inning on his MCG debut last month.
There have been suggestions – including from Australian legend Ricky Ponting – the Victorian would be left out despite his Melbourne miracle if Hazlewood and Richardson were in form, but the selectors are taking a cautious approach with the two pointers.
Hazlewood has not played since the series opener in Brisbane due to side tension while Richardson, who played Adelaide by taking five wickets in the second inning on his long-awaited return to the arena test, is back after spending a few years on the sidelines due to injury.
Khawaja lost to Head in a shootout for the vacant No.5 position early in the series, but was an obvious replacement, having been on the test squad all summer as a spare hitter. .
Although he has spent most of his 44-test career as a No.3 and opener, the southpaw has been batting at No.4 for Queensland lately, so he has experience in the field. ‘intermediate order.
Australia XI: Marcus Harris, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (week), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland
Originally posted as Star snubbed as Australia changes starting XI for Ashes Test in Sydney