ANI Photo | Neser earns recall as Australia announce 14-player squad for New Zealand Test series

Australia announced a 14-player squad for the upcoming two-match Test series against New Zealand, with experienced pacer Michael Neser returning to the red-ball setup.
The current World Test Championship (WTC) holders will travel to the inaugural WTC winner New Zealand to engage in a two-match red ball cricket affair. Keeping New Zealand’s seam-friendly pitches in mind, Australia have decided to go for an extra pacer while the rest of the squad resembles to the one that drew a two-match Test series against West Indies earlier this year.
Pat Cummins will return to lead the side for the series which will kick off in Wellington on February 29. Along with the skipper, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon will form a strong bowling pair.
Cummins deputy Steve Smith is expected to continue with his new opening role along with Usman Khawaja. Neser’s inclusion provides Australia with a strong bowling backup but he will be behind the likes of Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood and Scott Boland.
However, Australia chief selector George Bailey believes that having an additional pacer would be important if it suits the surface condition.
“It’s great to see Michael Neser get another opportunity in the squad following his ever-consistent performances over a long period of time and the conditions we expect,” Bailey said as quoted from ICC.
“As we know every Test match provides vital opportunities to obtain valuable WTC points and we expect this tour will be a tough challenge against a very strong side who have been so consistent at home for a long period of time,” Bailey added.
After the conclusion of the first Test, both teams will travel to Christchurch to play the second Test on March 8.
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. (ANI)

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