Melbourne: Australia fast bowler Michael Neser is set to miss the upcoming tour of Pakistan next month after suffering a side strain and will be replaced by uncapped pacer Mark Steketee, Cricket Australia said on Wednesday. Australia is set to tour Pakistan for the first time since 1998 for three Test matches, starting in Rawalpindi on March 4, followed by three ODIs and one-off T20I.
“Steketee replaces Michael Neser who was today ruled out with a side strain. He’ll play this week’s #SheffieldShield game against Victoria before joining the Australian squad. Brendan Doggett will also join the squad next week as cover #PAKvAUS," Cricket Australia tweeted. The 31-year-old Neser, who made his Test debut during the recent Ashes series against England, suffered a side strain on Monday while bowling for his state during Marsh One-Day Cup match in Brisbane.
Steketee, who is currently the leading wicket taker in Australia’s Sheffield Shield competition this season with 29 scalps, including an eight-wicket haul against NSW last week, has been named his replacement in the squad. The 28-year-old was part of Australia’s extended squad for last year’s tour of South Africa, which was ultimately called off.
Doggett, 27, has also been named as a stand by, taking the total number of pace bowling options to six, including Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Scott Boland, Steketee and skipper Pat Cummins. Earlier, Jhye Richardson had decided to skip the tour.
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner. On standby: Brendan Doggett.
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