Host Australia are all set to miss the services of their skipper, Pat Cummins, as he is a doubt for the second Test match against the West Indies. Cummins who did not bowl in the second innings of the first Test will most probably miss the Adelaide contest. Cricket Australia in the meantime have made their move and added Lance Morris and Michael Neser to the squad. The latter returns to the squad after one year while Morris is still uncapped.
Cummins out of second Test?
Cummins battled quad soreness for much of the latter stages of the opening Test against the Caribbean side in Perth and failed to bowl during the West Indies’ second innings as Australia clinched a 164-run victory. The right-armer is hopeful he will be fit to feature in the second Test that commences on Thursday, but selectors have flown Morris and Neser into Adelaide in case the Australia captain is ruled out.
Morris is yet to win a Test cap for Australia, but the 24-year-old has more wickets than any other bowler in Australia's domestic Sheffield Shield competition this year and has regularly clocked speeds in excess of 150km/h. Neser, meanwhile, played his solitary Test for Australia last year against England in Adelaide and has been one of the most consistent performers at domestic level for more than a decade.
While Scott Boland is already in Australia's squad and would be the logical choice to replace Cummins should the captain miss the second Test, the inclusion of Morris and Neser does provide selectors with further pace options should conditions suit.
Australia selection chair George Bailey said both players deserved their selection in the squad.
"Michael (Neser) has been with the squad on a regular basis in past seasons and was simply outstanding in Adelaide last summer," Bailey said.
"He has continued to perform incredibly consistently since and will be warmly welcomed back.
"Lance is another of the outstanding young fast bowlers coming through the ranks. He has genuine pace and his ability to create opportunities for wickets is a real drawcard.
"It will be great experience for him to come into the environment."
WTC final spot in focus
The Test in Adelaide will be pivotal for Australia as they attempt to qualify for their first ICC World Test Championship final at The Oval next year. Cummins' side currently sit on top of the World Test Championship standings, but have difficult Test matches during the run home against South Africa (home) and India (away).