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Marcus Harris earns maiden call-up, Matt Renshaw overlooked for first 2 Tests vs India

Australia have named a 14-member squad for the first two Tests against India.

Written by: India TV Sports Desk, New Delhi [ Published on: November 22, 2018 8:31 IST ]
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Marcus Harris has scored 437 runs in six innings for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield this season

Australia have handed Victoria opener Marcus Harris a maiden call-up to Tests squad for the first two games after his consistent show in domestic cricket.

Peter Handscomb, who was dropped for the Test series against Pakistan, has also been drafted back into the 14-man squad for the first two matches of the four-match series. Matt Renshaw however, continues to be overlooked.

Harris is currently the second highest run scorer in the ongoing Sheffield Shield season with 437 runs in six innings and a personal best of 250 not out.

Speaking about Harris's inclusion, national selector Trevor Hohns said Harris has shown that he is mentally prepared for international cricket.

"Marcus Harris has forced his way into the squad after an impressive start to the Sheffield Shield campaign for Victoria, and in recent times has performed in high pressure matches, including Sheffield Shield finals. Not only has he made plenty of runs, he's displayed the mental application we believe is required to compete at Test cricket," Hohns said.

Another Victorian in the side is Chris Tremain, who also impressed in the ongoing season. He has taken 24 wickets and that includes three fifers from eight innings. Tremain is the second-highest wicket taker in the tournament and avergaes 20.25.

"Chris Tremain has also been performing consistently with the ball for Victoria. His form in the Sheffield Shield has seen him become the second highest wicket taker in the competition this season. He has also been a consistent wicket taker over the past two seasons, and thoroughly deserves his place in the squad," Hohns said in praise of the 27-year-old.

Usman Khwaja also retained his spot in the squad despite facing a race against time to be fit before the first Test, which starts on December 6 in Adelaide. Khawaja, who was Australia's best batsman against Pakistan in UAE, suffered a meniscal tear on the tour and subequently underwent a knee surgery in October. The 31-year-old however, is on his way to recovery and could even feature for Queensland in a Shield game before the Adelaide Test.

"We've been really impressed with the way Usman Khawaja has applied himself through his rehabilitation and he's left no stone unturned in his bid to return in Adelaide," Hohns said. 

"Barring any set-backs, all the signs are indicating he will be available for the first Test. We saw how well he performed against Pakistan in the UAE, and we hope he can recapture that form over the summer," he added.

Cricket Australia also announced that the team will announce a 12-man shortlist a day before the match and the remaining two players, who failed to make the squad will be released for the Shield games. Each 14 player selected in the squad will have one game in the Shield before the Test series opener to push for a spot in the XI against India at the Adelaide Oval.

"We will select a final team of 12 prior to each Test, and the two remaining squad members will be released to get important match time in the Sheffield Shield," Hohns revealed. "We believe all players chosen deserve their selection in the squad, and we're confident given the opportunity all will apply themselves well against India."

"With another round of Sheffield Shield matches to play, players have the chance to strengthen their cases for selection before we finalise the 12 in the lead up to the first Test," he added.

Australia squad for first-two Tests vs India: Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood (VC), Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh (VC), Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (C & WK), Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain

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