The Australian squad has been announced for the first two Tests of the 3 match tour of New Zealand in Australia.
The latest edition of the Trans Tasman Trophy is the first Test cricket the Aussies are playing since The Ashes due to the cancellation of their tour to Bangladesh. Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh, part of the squad that would have toured Bangladesh, have not been included in the current Australia squad.
Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja have been included in the squad, no doubt as replacements for the recently retired Chris Rogers and Michael Clarke. Peter Siddle, who played in the final Ashes Test, has also been included. As expected, Peter Nevill and Mitchell Marsh retain their places following the retirements of Brad Haddin and Shane Watson.
2 questions arise from this squad: first, what will become of the batting order? David Warner will open, likely with Burns as his partner. Captain and mainstay Steve Smith is likely expected to shift down to number four to accomodate Usman Khawaja, an experienced top-order bat, at one down, with Voges following at number five. Whether this works for the Aussie batsmen will be seen in Brisbane.
The second question is that of the 12th man. If Australia play 3 fast bowlers, a spinner and an all-rounder, as they have preferred to in the past, they will have to drop one of the 4 quicks in their squad: Johnson, Starc, Siddle and Hazlewood. Hazlewood and Siddle both offer consistency, while the Mitchells have pace on their side.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), Joe Burns, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges, David Warner
New Zealand squad: Brendon McCullum (c), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi (wk), Hamish Rutherford, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling (wk), Kane Williamson