Peter Siddle has been picked by Australia’s selectors for the Test series against Pakistan after a two-year absence.
In a squad that is unrecognisable from the one which toured South Africa earlier in the year, Siddle’s 17 wickets in three County Championship matches for Essex have seen him recalled to add experience to a team comprising five uncapped players.
Siddle could be in line to play in the first Test in the UAE on October 7 alongside debutants Michael Neser and Brendan Doggett.
The Queensland bowling duo were key in delivering the state’s first Sheffield Shield in six years by ending Victoria’s three-year winning streak.
The onus will be on them to alleviate the pressure on the team without the injured Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, while batsmen Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Aaron Finch come in for the banned Steve Smith, Steve Warner and Cameron Bancroft.
“There has been significant change to our Test squad, due to the unavailability of a number of key players,” said selector Trevor Hohns.
“That said, we firmly believe the squad selected is up to the challenge ahead, and is capable of playing a brand of cricket that can perform well in this series against Pakistan.
“It’s a blend of experienced players who have a significant amount of either Test or first-class cricket, and a number of younger players who we are confident are ready for the Test arena.”
Finch is given the opportunity to prove himself in the red-ball game having long been lauded for his exploits in the shorter formats. And Australia head coach Justin Langer alluded to the leadership qualities shown by the Yorkshire batsman in the ODI tri-nations series against Zimbabwe and Pakistan in July.
“He’s one of the core leaders of the group and I know he’s waited a long time to be in the squad. Hopefully like a Mike Hussey or a Brad Hodge or a George Bailey, he can have an impact on Test cricket as well,” he said.
Glenn Maxwell’s absence from the Test side continues in Australia’s time of need, while Victoria bowler Chris Tremain can consider himself hard done by having won the Player of the Year award in the Sheffield Shield.
No one has taken more wickets over the past three seasons than the 27-year-old who has been selected to play for Australia A.
Australia team to play Pakistan in two-Test series:
Tim Paine (capt), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc