Matthew Wade has been dropped from the Australian Test team, missing out on a spot in the 19-man squad scheduled to tour South Africa next month.
The batsman failed to make it to 50 in four Tests against India this summer and his middle order slot is now up for grabs.
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Queensland paceman Mark Steketee is the big bolter, while fellow uncapped players such as gloveman Alex Carey, leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson and fast bowlers Sean Abbott and Michael Neser have also been included.
At the same time the Test side is in South Africa, an Australian T20 team will be playing in New Zealand. Wade has been chosen in that squad as deputy to captain Aaron Finch, as have young guns hoping to make their international debuts including Sydney Thunder leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha, swashbuckling Sydney Sixers batsman Josh Philippe and Hobart Hurricanes quick Riley Meredith.
Fast bowler Jhye Richardson is a surprising omission from the Test squad. Injury has prevented him from adding to his two Tests, following his debut in early 2019, and he hasn’t played an ODI since March 7.
Former Test opener Ed Cowan told the ABC Grandstand Cricket podcast the right-armer should be picked but instead he will travel to New Zealand with the T20 side on the back of an outstanding BBL campaign.
This marks the first time Steketee, 27, has been chosen in a Test squad. The tall seamer has taken 144 wickets from 42 first class matches and will be keen to put his hand up for selection should the first-choice fast bowling attack of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood or Mitchell Starc need to be tinkered with.
At 33, and averaging less than 30 from 36 Tests, Wade’s career wearing the baggy green appears all but over.
He was recalled after a two-year absence during the 2019 Ashes and impressed, scoring two centuries, but has failed to make hay in the previous two home summers.
Wade has gone 14 consecutive innings without making it to 50 and selectors have finally lost patience with the left-hander, who often looked in good touch against India without making the most of promising starts.
The Tasmanian was put in a tough spot at the start of the summer, asked to open the batting — something he has never done at first class level — because of injuries to David Warner and Will Pucovski.
He ground out a gritty 30 and 40 in Melbourne but soft dismissals throughout the series loss to India — including twice holing out after charging a spinner — saw critics question his place in the team.
Wade survived while Travis Head was dropped midway through the series to accommodate the debut of Will Pucovski at the SCG, but the talented 27-year-old has been recalled at Wade’s expense and will fly to South Africa.
Tim Paine has been named captain for the tour, with Pat Cummins his vice-captain, amid speculation about the wicketkeeper’s future after several dropped catches and a failure to conjure victory on day five in both Sydney and Brisbane.
Young guns Pucovski and Cameron Green remain part of the squad after debuting against India, while Marcus Harris is being brought along as a spare batsman, as is NSW captain Moises Henriques.
James Pattinson didn’t feature against India but has earnt a seat on the plane, while Carey is the back-up wicketkeeper as selectors identify the South Australian as the man to one day take over from Paine.
Limited-overs regulars including Glenn Maxwell, Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis will play the T20s in New Zealand, while the Test team’s concurrent tour gives fringe players like Ashton Turner, Ben McDermott and Daniel Sams opportunities to put their names up in lights.
Left-arm quick Jason Behrendorff and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh are back in the national colours, while explosive opener D’Arcy Short and paceman Andrew Tye will be looking to take on greater responsibility.
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.
Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa