Australian selectors – chair George Bailey, Tony Dodemaide and men’s team coach Justin Langer – have announced a 15-man squad for the first couple of Tests as well as an Australia A squad.
Usman Khawaja, the Queensland captain, has been in brilliant form in the Sheffield Shield this season – where he averages 67 in 6 innings with 2 hundreds to his name – and is set to battle for a middle-order spot with Travis Head.
Marcus Harris was confirmed as David Warner’s opening partner after Will Pucovski had been ruled out due to concussion. Leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson is also included in the squad, alongside five pace bowlers and all-rounder Cameron Green.
Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson are the pace-bowling back-ups to the trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood.
Australia’s T20 World Cup hero Mitchell Marsh has been named in the 11-man Australia A squad, which will take part in a three-day internal practice game against the Test squad in Brisbane from December 1, followed by a four-day game against England Lions from December 9.
“This group is well balanced to ensure we are prepared for the many challenges of an Ashes Series,” George Bailey said in the release.
“It has a mix of experienced, proven performers and emerging, developing talent. We will take this 15-player squad into the opening Test in Brisbane and the pink ball match in Adelaide, after which we can reassess for the remaining matches.”
The first Ashes Test is slated for Brisbane from December 8. Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth are slotted to host the next four Tests. Australia are the current holders of the urn, having retained it in 2019 with a 2-2 draw after winning the series in 2017.
Australia’s squad for first two Ashes Tests:
Tim Paine (c), Pat Cummins (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
Australia A players: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh, Matt Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street