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Australia could field an unrecognisable Test team in near future

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Injury and retirement could force Australia to field their most unrecognisable Test team in nearly four decades when they face Bangladesh in October and New Zealand a month later.

From the eleven who finished the Ashes on a high with the fifth Test victory at the Oval, only four are assured of selection: captain Steve Smith, wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, paceman Mitchell Starc and offspinner Nathan Lyon.

Starc had been considered a strong candidate for a rest during the tour - although that seems unlikely now given his fast-bowling allies Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood have been given that honour.

Opener Chris Rogers and captain Michael Clarke (both retired) won't be there, while David Warner concedes he is "highly unlikely" as he faces a six-week lay-off with a broken thumb.

Meanwhile, Ashes squad members Ryan Harris, Brad Haddin and Shane Watson have also retired - giving Australia an entirely new look.

Seven new faces would ensure the biggest personnel change between Tests in Australian cricket in 36 years, when eight changes were made following the fall of World Series Cricket.

In 1979, Australia welcomed back WSC stars Dennis Lillee, Greg Chappell, David Hookes, Rick McCosker, Rod Marsh, Bruce Laird, Ray Bright and Jeff Thompson for the first Test of the summer against the West Indies.

Since then, only once have six or more changes been made - in 1998.

Adam Voges' spot in the team was in major jeopardy following a string of low scores with the Ashes in the balance. It's still not assured but consecutive half centuries to close the series have helped.

His fortunes will also be assisted by Australia's leadership dearth, with selectors likely to be wooed by his mountain of experience at first-class level.

The mass changes will certainly ensure Australia don't go easy on Bangladesh, who have successfully shaken their minnow status in recent times.

Warner says they've improved a lot, especially at home.

"I think they're going to be very tough," he said.

"As a team we'll wait to get there and see what [sort of pitches are] being produced but as a whole they're a team that fights.

 

They're always in the game and always hungry to take 20 wickets. When they bat, they like to bat big as well and we've seen that with a couple of their players.

Even Mitch Marsh, who made a fist of the allrounder spot after replacing Shane Watson during the Ashes, can't be considered a lock for game one.

He is a favourite with selectors but given the spin-friendly conditions Australia will encounter in Bangladesh, they may be swayed to opt for spin-bowling allrounder Glenn Maxwell, who has played all three of his Tests on the subcontinent.

Peter Siddle starred at The Oval, however selectors may feel tearaway Pat Cummins could extract more from the Bangladesh wickets which will be more receptive to spin, which also brings Ashton Agar into the equation as another spin option behind Maxwell.

Potential team:

Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Adam Voges, Glenn Maxwell/Mitch Marsh, Peter Nevill, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon.

Source : AAP



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