Australia’s search for a wicketkeeper has taken a surprising turn, as Tim Paine received a sensational Test recall for the first two games of the upcoming Ashes, starting November 23 at the Gabba, Brisbane.
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The 32-year old, who played last of his four Tests way back in 2010, saw off competition from Matthew Wade, Peter Nevill and Alex Carey to bag the wicketkeeping role, as Australia look to regain the urn in their backyard.
What is even more surprising that Paine did not don the gloves for Tasmania in their opening three Sheffield Shield rounds, as Wade was looking after that duty. Paine, however, impressed in the warm-up game against England at Townsville where he scored a fighting fifty.
Paine’s selection is not the only surprise the Australian selectors have sprung, as opening batsman Matt Renshaw, one of Australia’s most impressive performers during the tour of India earlier this year, has also been dropped alongside out-of-form Glenn Maxwell, as the duo has been replaced by Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh, respectively.
Explaining about the decision to recall Paine and including Marsh and Bancroft, Trevor Hohns, Australia’s chief selector, said:
“Tim was identified as an international player a long time ago and has always been renowned as a very good gloveman, also performing well for us whenever he has represented Australia in any format. His batting form in recent outings for the Cricket Australia XI and Tasmania has been good.
“Cameron (Bancroft) has been a player of interest to us for some time now, having been unlucky to miss out on the Test tour to Bangladesh that was cancelled in 2015,” he added. “Shaun (Marsh) is playing very well at the moment, having scored consistently in the JLT One-Day Cup and first three rounds of the JLT Sheffield Shield competition.”
Hohns further confirmed Wade was dropped due to his inconsistent performances with both the gloves as well as the bat for Australia which did not improve in the Sheffield Shield too.
“Matt Wade has been left out of the squad following some inconsistent performances with the gloves and lack of form with the bat,” he said. “Unfortunately his run of performances did not improve in the early rounds of Sheffield Shield, and we have opted to make a change.
The selector went on to say that Renshaw is very much in the scheme of things but needs to regain his form for a national recall.
“We still view Matthew (Renshaw) as a player of immense talent, but he is out of form at the moment, and we don’t feel an Ashes Test match is the best place for him to find form,” he said.
Australia Squad for first two Tests:
Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers.
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