Australia have moved quickly to provide cover for ailing skipper Pat Cummins with uncapped quick Lance Morris and pacer Michael Neser joining up with the squad ahead of the second Test against the West Indies in Adelaide.
Cummins fought quad soreness for much of the latter phases of the opening Test against the Caribbean side in Perth and failed to play during the West Indies’ second innings as Australia clinched a 164-run victory.
The selectors have flown Morris and Neser to Adelaide in case the Australia captain is unable to play in the second Test, which gets underway on Thursday.
Morris, 24, has more wickets this year than any other bowler in Australia’s domestic Sheffield Shield tournament and often clocks velocities of more than 150 km/h despite having yet to earn a Test cap for his country.
Neser, meanwhile, has been one of the most reliable players at the local level for more than a decade and played his lone Test for Australia against England in Adelaide last year. Neser played his one and only Test match to date in last year’s Adelaide day-night Test when the captain Cummins was ruled out with Covid.
While Scott Boland is already in Australia’s squad and would be the logical choice to replace Cummins should the captain miss the second Test, the inclusion of Morris and Neser does provide selectors with further pace options should conditions suit.
Australia selection chair George Bailey said both players deserved their selection in the squad.
“Michael (Neser) has been with the squad on a regular basis in past seasons and was simply outstanding in Adelaide last summer. He has continued to perform incredibly consistently since and will be warmly welcomed back. Lance is another of the outstanding young fast bowlers coming through the ranks. He has genuine pace and his ability to create opportunities for wickets is a real drawcard. It will be a great experience for him to come into the environment,” Bailey said in an official statement released by Cricket Australia.
For Australia, the test in Adelaide will be crucial in their quest to reach their first ICC World Test Championship final at The Oval the following year.
Although Cummins’ team leads the World Test Championship standings, they face challenging Test matches against India and South Africa at home (away).
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner
West Indies squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Marquino Mindley, Anderson Phillip, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Devon Thomas. (ANI)
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