Cricket Australia has announced a 17-member squad for the much-anticipated four-match Test series against India.
Both David Warner and Steve Smith, who missed the 2018-19 home series owing to their ball-tampering ban, will be available this time around. In the absence of two of their greatest players, Australia had lost their first-ever Test series to India on home soil.
The Aussie squad for the Tests, which begin on December 17 with the historic Day/Night Test at Adelaide, also features youngsters Will Pucovski and Cameron Green.
Pacers Sean Abbott and Michael Neser were also named along with spinner Mitch Swepson. Tim Paine remains the skipper while Pat Cummins has been named his deputy.
Explaining the selections of Green and Pucovski, national selector Trevor Hohns said:
"What we saw in the opening rounds of the Marsh Sheffield Shield were a number of players performing exceptionally well. Two of those many standout players were of course Cameron Green and Will Pucovski."
"Their undeniable form demanded selection and we are very pleased to have these young men in the squad for what will be a tremendous Test Series against an extremely formidable opponent.”
22-year-old Pucovski has amassed 495 runs at an average of 247.5 in the opening rounds of Sheffield Shield this year. He could be a contender to open the innings with David Warner, considering Joe Burns has not been in great form of late.
Both Burns and Pucovski feature in the Australia A squad for the two practice matches against India.
Hohns heaped praise on Pucovski, saying:
"Will's record breaking start to the summer has been exceptional. His ability to show such patience is something which stands him in good stead for Test cricket and he is in rare company with two double centuries to start the summer. We very much look forward to Will developing further on the international stage."
On the other hand, Green finds a place on the basis of his all-round strength. The cricketer from Western Australia hit a career-best 197 against New South Wales. Earlier, he was also named in Australia’s white-ball squads for the India series.
Addressing Green's selection, Hohns said:
"Cameron has already won selection in the white ball squad and continues that in joining the Test squad. He is a wonderful young talent who has great potential to become an all-rounder of substance over time. His batting alone has demanded his place in the squad."
As for Swepson, who is the highest wicket-taker in the Shield this season, having claimed 23 wickets in 3 matches, Hohns believes that he can be a good back-up spin option for Nathan Lyon if needed.
Australia squad: Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Tim Paine (c), James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner
Australia A squad: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Joe Burns, Jackson Bird, Alex Carey (wk), Harry Conway, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh (subject to fitness), Michael Neser, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Mark Steketee, Will Sutherland, Mitchell Swepson