Sydney, July 6 (IANS) Australia Test skipper Tim Paine has asked potential candidates, aiming for slots in the team for the one-off Test against Afghanistan and the subsequent Ashes series, to concentrate on the domestic Shield games and stake claim to play for the country.
The Afghanistan team tour of Australia in November will begin a gruelling summer for Australia where they will play the Ashes and limited-overs series against New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
“I think there’s four or five Shield games before the Afghanistan Test and some guys potentially away in the (T20) World Cup, so there’s going to be some opportunities for guys to press their case in the first few rounds of Shield cricket,” Paine said on icc-cricket.com.
“It’s going to be up to guys to grab the opportunity and I think every batter around the country will be licking their lips at the moment, thinking an Ashes series is on the line in Australia with a couple of batting spots up for grabs.”
Despite the tough scheduling between the T20 World Cup and the start of the gruelling home series, Paine said Australia will try and play its strongest eleven in both the red-ball and white-ball series.
“We’ll be trying to pick the best possible sides available for every game of those series. It’s part of modern-day cricket. You’ve got to be able to chop between tournaments, you’ve got to be able to chop between formats, and normally the guys that are doing that, those multi-format players that are playing all three formats, are the very best players at it,” added Paine.