Jon Holland in the squad led by Steve Smith
(Photo credit should read ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Jon Holland, the left-arm spinner, has been recalled to Australia Test squad, led by Steven Smith, after one and a half year. The 30-year-old played two Test matches against Sri Lanka in 2016 when he was called in for an injured Steve O’Keefe.

Holland though wasn’t called to the side for the tour of India in 2017 where Nathan Lyon, Steve O’Keefe, Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson were Australia’s four spinners. He was neither called for the Ashes, and his inclusion comes as a big surprise.

“Jon was the second leading wicket taker in the Sheffield Shield last season and has performed well in the games he has played for Victoria this season. We envisage the wickets we will see in South Africa will not warrant the need to play two spinners. Therefore, should Nathan not be able to play at any stage, we wanted to have the best specialist spinner available to us and based on current red ball form Jon warrants that spot,” said national selector, Trevor Hohns.

Holland Recalled, Richardson Handed Debut Call For South Africa Test Series

Amidst speculations, Cameron Bancroft has been able to save his place and will be opening the innings with David Warner. Bancroft managed just 179 runs during Ashes 2017/18 triumph.

Peter Handscomb, who did not play any part in the series after first two Tests, has also been included. He was also released from the squad during Ashes to take part in Big Bash League.

The trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins will continue to be part of the pace attack; whose combined success saw Australia going past England in the Ashes. Cummins (23 wickets), Starc (22 wickets) and Hazlewood (21 wickets) came first, second and third, respectively in terms of highest wicket-takers in the series.

Jackson Bird, who played the Boxing day Test in place of an injured Starc, will travel as the fourth pacer and would only play if there is an injury concern or Australia feel a need of a fourth pacer. The selectors have also named Jhye Richardson in the squad, as another backup pacer. He recently made his ODI debut against England where he took two wickets.

“Jhye is a talented right-armer that bowls with very good pace through the air. He impressed in his first One-Day International and has bowled well in the Sheffield Shield this season. He is an exciting young prospect who will benefit immensely from his time with this squad,” Hohns added on the inclusion of Richardson in the Test side.

Nathan Lyon Australia England
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Nathan Lyon, the highest wicket-taker in 2017, will lead the spin attack with Holland besides him. Lyon is currently also eyeing a place in ODI squad and was recently named as captain of Prime Minister’s XI team to face England.

The Steven Smith led side will play a total of four Test matches on tour. The first of the series will be played in Durban from March 1 to 5. The second Test of the series will be played from March 9 to 13 in Port Elizabeth. The last two Test matches will be played in Cape Town and Johannesburg and will start on March 22 and 30 respectively, following which the players of both the teams will fly to India to take part in IPL.

Australia squad for Test series –

Steven Smith (c), David Warner (VC), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Jon Holland, Jhye Richardson.

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