Harris, Marsh picked in squad for WTC Final, Ashes
Marcus Harris, Mitchell Marsh and Josh Inglis have been recalled to Australia’s squad for the World Test Championship Final and the Ashes series. Cricket Australia announced a 17-man squad that sees no place for Sheffield Shield top-scorer Cameron Bancroft or its second-highest wicket taker Michael Neser. Veteran opener David Warner, who endured a rough tour of India before being ruled out with an injury, holds on to his place.
Cricket Australia selector George Bailey said the squad would be revisited ahead of the second Ashes Test with the marquee five-match series against England starting quickly on the heels of the Test Championship final against India.
WTC Final and Men’s Ashes squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, David Warner.
Harris, 30, scored two hundreds in a 601-run season for Victoria in the Shield season but still finished some distance behind Bancroft, who scored 945 runs at 59.06 and hit four centuries. The selection call gives Australia a trio of left-handers for the opening slot with Warner and Usman Khawaja the incumbent pair with Travis Head expected to slot back into the middle-order after a successful foray up top on the tour of India.
The 31-year-old Marsh meanwhile played the last of his 32 Tests during the 2019 Ashes series in England. He has been laid low by several injuries since but underscored his potential in the only first-class game he played this season by hitting a rapid century against Tasmania. He will serve as a back-up all-round option to Cameron Green, who will supplement the four-man fast-bowling attack of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Scott Boland and Josh Hazlewood.
Todd Murphy, who enjoyed a terrific debut series in India, is the squad’s second spinner behind veteran Nathan Lyon while Inglis is the reserve keeper-bat behind Alex Carey. Peter Handscomb, who enjoyed a productive outing in India, misses out, as does speedster Lance Morris.
“The World Test Championship is the culmination of more than two years of consistent performance at Test level by the team and the individuals involved, leading into an Ashes series which is always highly anticipated,” Bailey said. “The UK is a very different assignment from our most recent tour of India and some of the changes are based upon the conditions we are anticipating.
“Marcus Josh and Mitch return to the squad and will provide valuable depth and flexibility within their respective skillsets. We see value in revisiting the squad following the second Ashes Test given the short turnaround between the WTC Final and the first Ashes Test, along with the length of the tour.”
Australia, who will depart to the UK in late May, will trim their squad to 15 as per ICC rules for the WTC Final. That one-off marquee clash against India will be played at The Oval from June 7. The first Ashes Test will start at Edgbaston on June 20.