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Pucovski, Burns & Renshaw Called up; Marsh Brothers & Finch Dropped for SL Tests

Australia have offered a maiden call-up to the promising Victorian batsman Will Pucovski for the forthcoming two-match Test series against Sri Lanka, while Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw too have been included in the 13-man squad announced on Wednesday (January 9).

Cricketnext Staff |January 9, 2019, 3:09 PM IST
Pucovski, Burns & Renshaw Called up; Marsh Brothers & Finch Dropped for SL Tests

Australia have offered a maiden call-up to the promising Victorian batsman Will Pucovski for the forthcoming two-match Test series against Sri Lanka, while Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw too have been included in the 13-man squad announced on Wednesday (January 9).

Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb and Marsh brothers (Shaun and Mitchell) have been dumped from the squad. All these four players were part of the recently concluded four-match Test series against India that Australia lost 1-2.

Pucovski first came into the radar when he made a remarkable 243 against Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield last October and was in the contention for India series, but opted to take an "indefinite break" from cricket for treatment on a mental health-related illness. The 20-year-old has suffered several concussions in his young career and that is what has slowed down his progress.

National selector Trevor Hohns said: “Will Pucovski is an exciting young player who is making his mark in the Sheffield Shield. He is another player with a track record of making centuries. We look forward to him joining the squad and congratulate him on his first national call-up."

Meanwhile, Renshaw played last of his 11 Tests in March-April 2018 when he had to fly to South Africa for the final Test after ball-tampering scandal broke out in Cape Town. The left-hander has only managed 199 runs at 19.9 in Sheffield Shield so far but had a superb County season with Somerset last year. However, his Queensland teammate Burns does have good numbers this season. The 29-year-old has chalked up 472 runs at 47.2 so far in the season.

“Joe Burns has had strong performances in first-class cricket this season and we believe he can contribute strongly if given the chance in the series," Hohns said.

“Matt Renshaw is a player with the ability to make big scores and at 22 years old has 10 first-class centuries. He also performed extremely well in England during the County season. We see him as a long-term prospect as a Test player and have confidence in his ability to bounce back following a string of low scores early in the Shield season."

All four players who have been axed have been in underwhelming form over the last few months and quite clearly, the selectors ran out of patience with them.

"Ultimately Aaron, Peter, Shaun and Mitch have not produced the performances expected of them with the bat at the Test level," said Hohns. "They have been given good opportunity, but have not produced the scores we need.

"All four are very good players, and the door is by no means closed for them to return to play Test cricket for Australia.

"They will all feature in the ODI Series against India, and each of them forms an integral part of our white-ball strategy and set-up at the moment as we also focus on our journey to the 2019 Cricket World Cup."

Sri Lanka will first play a three-day practice match against Cricket Australia XI before the series gets underway in Brisbane from January 24.

Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (capt/wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Will Pucovksi, Matt Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle.

Cricket Australia XI squad: Joe Burns, Kurtis Patterson, Scott Boland, Jake Doran, Jon Holland, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Will Pucovski, Jason Sangha, Matt Renshaw, Chris Tremain.

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