The countdown is on
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We know you’ve been hearing a lot about the new-look Australian cricket side, and as our cricketers prepare to take on India and South Africa on home soil, we thought we’d introduce you to them.
As we prepare to get deep into the summer of cricket – with next month’s one day international fast approaching and the second test against India oh-so-close – we thought it was about time you got to know the new, exciting faces vying to take the field in the baggy green.
It was the third time in ten years that Australia fielded three debutants in the same Test, with Marnus Labuschagne, Aaron Finch, and Travis Head all debuting in the baggy green for the first test against Pakistan.
Though not named in the most recent test series, there’s another trio of players we’ll also be keeping a keen eye on as the summer of cricket heats up.
Marnus Labuschagne has quickly built a reputation as Australia’s energiser bunny. In Abu Dhabi he held one of the greatest juggling short-leg catches we’ve ever seen, and while it may have been called a fluke, the Queenslander’s ability to make something out of nothing and remain in the middle of the action at all times sets him up for an intriguing future. Having proven his worth in the field – including a run out of Babar Azam, and his leg-spin, which took Labuschagne to the top of Australia’s bowling averages in the first Test – he’ll be keen to showcase the form with the bat that helped his selection into the national side. Captain Tim Paine has big hopes for Labuschagne, telling cricket.com.au, “He’s a bit of a triple-threat. He’s great in the field, he bowls some really handy legspin…and he’s a really skilful, talented batsman.”
Of the trio of debutants in the United Arab Emirates, Aaron Finch’s performance was the clear standout, firmly putting him in the running for further selection. It would be particularly surprising if we don’t actually find him at the top of the order – especially as he averaged 45.25 for the last series.
It had been a long-awaited debut, and the man who’d made more international runs before his Test debut than any player in history didn’t look a bit out of place at the top level. While the Victorian failed to convert any of his starts to triple figures, in a batting lineup that is lacking experience, Finch’s early form looks more than promising.
The final of Australia’s batting debutants, Head recovered from a first innings duck in Dubai to play a critical supporting role in saving the first Test. He looked comfortable at the crease, suggesting the South Australian has done more than enough to continue in the baggy green. Following his innings against Pakistan, Allan Border declared that Head’s courage could see him as Australia’s next leader – if that isn’t a top-notch endorsement, we don’t know what is.
Matthew Renshaw has been earmarked as a long-term opening batsman, but a lack of match practice due to injury in recent months saw him miss out on recent Test selection. However, he has been told by selectors that he remains a key part of Australia’s plans for the coming home summer. Even without his involvement in the most recent Test matches, Renshaw’s 15 first-class matches and six centuries are more than anyone in Australia’s current top six. Watch this space, if Renshaw can get his body right, he’s set to have a huge impact in the coming months.
The Queensland paceman might have just missed selection, with Australia instead going with the bowling experience of Peter Siddle, but mark our words, Nesser is someone to keep an eye on. He was the second-leading wicket-taker during last year’s Sheffield Shield season, claiming 39 scalps at 21.84 and ensuring Queensland took home the title. While Neser’s only international experience came during two ODIs in England earlier this year, his batting promise – having scored six half-centuries in first-class cricket for an average of 23.34 – could see him become an important asset to the Australian line-up.
While more than 600 men and women have worn our national uniform in Test cricket, only two of Indigenous Australian heritage are among that crop – so selection for Brendan Doggett would be even more special. The fast-bowler-unfriendly conditions in UAE could be seen as the main reason Doggett missed selection in the Test against Pakistan, but when Australia needs an injection of pace, he’ll be the go-to man. Widely regarded among the fastest in Australia’s current first-class ranks, his speed brought him 28 wickets at 27.71 in his seven Shield matches last summer. He’s been clocked bowling around 145kph, and it’s believed with a few tweaks to his action he might be able to push it to around 150kph.
Australia will take on South Africa in a One Day International at Perth Stadium on Sunday 4 November, before taking on India in the second test of the series at Perth Stadium from Friday 14 Dec-Tuesday 18 Dec. Tickets available through Ticketmaster.com.au.