Cricket Australia have announced 16-member squad for the Ashes opening game at Brisbane against England. The selectors have certainly made some surprise moves as Tim Paine has picked ahead of Peter Nevill despite the Victorian not playing four-day cricket for Tasmania this season.
Paine returns to the side after a period of 7 years as he was chosen ahead of the likes of Matthew Wade, Alex Carey and Peter Nevill. The 32-year old has not been a first-choice keeper for Tasmania due to Matthew Wade being the preferable one for the first three games in the Shield games for the side. Paine performed well as he led Cricket Australia XI against England at Adelaide. He scored a crucial half century against high quality England attack that included James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
He averages just under 30s in first class games for Tasmania. He has done well with the bat for Australia in the four Test matches played in 2010. He has highest score of 92 runs against India at Mohali. Paine was center of all the discussions but has received backing from former players as he is dubbed as best wicket-keeper by a distance in the country at the moment.
Also uncapped Cameron Bancroft has been picked ahead of Matt Renshaw in the Australian squad. Bancroft has topped batting charts this season while Renshaw has been going through a lean phase as selectors dropped him so that he can find form and be in contention for a spot in the side. Shaun Marsh has also found a place in the setup as Glenn Maxwell has been dropped.
Australia’s Chief Selector Trevor Hohns said that Paine is a good batsman and also the best wicket-keeper in the country at the moment. Hohns stated that 32-year old player has done exceedingly well in the past for Australia across all three formats. The recent form has been taken into consideration as contemporaries in Peter Nevill and Matthew Wade have not done much with the bat in the current season of Shield cricket.
Australia Squad for Ashes 2017-18: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner (vice-captain), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khuwaja, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Chadd Sayers.