Australia’s experienced batter Usman Khawaja has earned a recall for the first two Ashes after the national selectors named a 15-man squad.
Khawaja played his last Test match back in August 2019 against England and since then he has been on the sidelines.
The left-hander has finally received a call to the squad on the back of impressive performances in Sheffield Shield. Khawaja will fight it out for Travis Head for a place in the middle order in the final XI.
Leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson has been named as the backup for veteran spinner Nathan Lyon. Marcus Harris, on the other hand, will partner David Warner at the top of the order for Australia.
Uncapped Michael Neser has been included along with Jhye Richardson and the duo will be the backup pacers for the main trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Starc.
“Jhye is seeing the rewards of concentrating on his red-ball cricket in the build-up to this series,” chief selector George Bailey said. “We know he has an exceptional skill set and is excited about what he brings to the team now his body is back on track.
“Marcus has been a consistent run-scorer domestically and had a strong winter further developing his game with Leicestershire. He is a good player who will be looking to build a strong partnership with David Warner at the top of the order.
“Travis finished last summer strongly, second only to Cameron Green for runs scored, and has again started the season well. He drives the game forward and can put the opposition under pressure with his ability to score quickly. Similarly, Usman Khawaja has been in great touch. He brings a calm, consistent and experienced component to the batting lineup and is a proven run-scorer at the Test level. He also has the ability to bat across a range of positions in the batting order.”
Meanwhile, Mitchell Marsh, who was the hero for Australia in the T20 World Cup final against New Zealand, has not been included in the Ashes squad. However, Marsh is part of 11 Australia A players who will take play the intra-squad match from December 1-3 and will help their teammates in preparing for the crucial series.
The first Ashes Test will be played at the Gabba, Brisbane from December 8.
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (C), Pat Cummins (VC), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, 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