Wary Aus breaks tradition, picks Test stars for warm-ups vs India

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New Delhi, Nov 12 (IANS) Breaking from tradition, Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday named nine members of the Test squad as part of the Australia A squad that will play a three-day warm-up game against India prior to the Test series early next month.

The decision has been made apparently to ensure that a majority of its Test squad would get practice against the touring Indians ahead of the Test series when it begins on December 17.

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The Australia A squad also includes Test captain Tim Paine. Besides Paine, Test squad members Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, and Mitchell Swepson will also be part of the Australia A side.

Both Australia A’s warm-up games against India are scheduled to be held in Sydney, the first at Drummoyne Oval (Dec 6-8) with India A and the second under lights at the SCG (Dec 11-13), to prepare players for the pink-ball first Test at Adelaide Oval beginning December 17.

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Traditionally, Cricket Australia has always fielded weaker sides for warm-ups. The Cricket Australia XI on India’s last tour Down Under in 2018-19 did not comprise a single Test player. The only known player in that XI was D’Arcy Short who had played only a handful of limited-overs internationals having made his debut earlier that year.

Even among the rest of the players for that three-day Tour match ahead of 2018-19 series, only Sam Whiteman was a successful first-class player. Many of the rest have not played even 10 first-class matches up until now.

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Even in the 2014-15 tour, both tour matches in Adelaide did not have a single Test player, although the quality of first-class cricketers was better than the one dished out ahead of the 2018-19 series.

CA’s move to include so many Test players could be because most of the players have played limited cricket due to Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown.

Players common to Test and A squads are Tim Paine, Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski and Mitchell Swepson.

–IANS

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