Australia announces full-strength Test squad for Pakistan tour
- Australia will play a three-match Test series in Pakistan
- The series will start on March 4 with the first Test in Rawalpindi
- There will be no Justin Langer to oversee Australia’s performance during the Pakistan tour as he resigned as chief coach
Cricket Australia on Tuesday announced a full-strength 18-member Test squad for Australia’s three-match Test series for their upcoming Pakistan tour as Justin Langer has bid farewell to the Australian cricket team as chief coach.
Australia will tour Pakistan for the first time since 1998. The squad was confirmed three days after Langer rejected a six-month contract extension offer by Cricket Australia. Andrew McDonald has been named Australia's interim coach.
Australia under their new leader Pat Cummins won the Ashes Test series 4-0 against archrivals England at home last month.
Opener Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja have been included in the squad. In the Ashes series, Harris was replaced by Khawaja for the fourth and fifth Test. Josh Hazlewood, who missed four of the five Ashes Tests because of injury, has also returned to the side as he forms the pace attack with captain Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Scott Boland, Michael Never and all-rounder Cameron Green.
Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson have been added as additional spinners to assist veteran Nathan Lyon.
"This squad covers for all scenarios, including the conditions, given it has been such a long time since Australia was last in Pakistan,” selector George Bailey said.
"With several subcontinent tours and a one-day World Cup in India on the near horizon, this is a great first-up challenge for the group after the successful home Ashes Series.
"It’s also a very historic tour given the length of time since an Australian side last toured Pakistan."
Meanwhile, expressing concern over the Pakistan tour due to fear of security threat, Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Todd Greenberg told Melbourne radio station SEN on Monday that he wouldn't be surprised if there were changes to the squad.
"Clearly there’s some anxiety about touring, and that’s perfectly natural given an Australian cricket team hasn’t toured Pakistan for almost 25 years,” Greenberg said.
We may have one or two players that won’t be comfortable despite all of the advice and guidance that we provide, and that’s OK."
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (captain), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner