Injured Michael Neser out of Pakistan Test series
MELBOURNE: Australia fast bowler Michael Neser has been ruled out of next month’s Test tour of Pakistan due to a side strain and will be replaced with uncapped Mark Steketee, the country’s cricket board said on Wednesday.
Cricket Australia said Neser, who earned his first test cap during the Ashes, picked up the injury during Queensland’s Marsh One-Day Cup loss to New South Wales on Monday.
Australia are due to play three Tests against Pakistan, with the first Test scheduled to begin on March 4 in Rawalpindi.
“Neser injured himself while warming up to bowl during the innings break of Queensland’s match against NSW,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.
“He attempted to push on but was able to bowl just two deliveries, the second of which was a wide, before leaving the field.”
Fellow quick and Queensland teammate Steketee, who has taken 29 wickets at an average of 16.31 so far this Marsh Sheffield Shield season, has been called up while Brendan Doggett has been named on standby for the series.
Australia and Pakistan are also scheduled to play three One-day Internationals and one Twenty20 match. Australia’s squad for those encounters will be announced separately.
The Australians will be playing in Pakistan for the first time in almost 25 years and the series will be the Test side’s first overseas tour since facing England in the 2019 Ashes.
Aiming to return to Test cricket for the first time since September 2017 after being named in the squad for the tour of Pakistan, all-rounder Ashton Agar on Wednesday vowed to overcome self-doubt and focus on the joy of cricket after finding his inspiration in an unusual place — a concert by south London rapper Loyle Carner.
The 28-year-old said rapper Carner’s fearlessness on stage at a Perth concert motivated the Australian to do the same on the cricket field.
“He was owning the stage and it was beautiful. I thought, ‘This is so cool, he just has such great presence,’ and we’re all there to watch him,” Agar told reporters on Wednesday.
“I was thinking to myself ‘Oh God, I’d love to do that’. But at that moment I kind of realised I actually have the chance to do this all the time every time I get to play cricket.”
Agar remains confident of redefining his Test career if given a chance during the Pakistan series.
“It’s easier said than done, [but] it’s something you need to practice being brave and just going for it, and being open to what might happen,” Agar added.
“If I were to take the conservative route and just try to survive in this game I think it would be a bit of a miserable existence. It’s much nicer to try and thrive than survive.”
Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2022