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Four frantic rounds to book your ticket to England

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Roar Pro
6th February, 2019
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The makeup of the Australian cricket team when the first Ashes Test gets underway on August 1 is as good as anyone’s guess as things stand.

Just how many players have actually booked their ticket on the plane to the United Kingdom remains to be seen.

Looking at how the summer of international cricket finished, you would assume five bowlers have booked their place.

It would be fair to assume Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jhye Richardson and Mitchell Starc will be all in the Australian touring party, although Starc’s position in the squad has been called into question in recent weeks.

Those players look likely to battle it out for the starting bowling positions in the first Test, although we shouldn’t be surprised if the selectors were to spring something out of the blue.

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When it comes to the makeup of the batting line-up, this is where things get confusing. Steve Smith and David Warner are most likely to make their returns to the team, while Tim Paine will occupy number seven as the wicketkeeper and captain of the side.

If these three are automatic locks for Edgbaston, that leaves just four spots in the side and who takes them almost comes down to individual opinion right now.

In the opening positions, Marcus Harris has made several starts across series against India and Sri Lanka but has always failed to go on and make a big score.

And that is where Joe Burns could come in after his 180-run stand against Sri Lanka, although it must be noted it was very much against a weakened pace attack.

Matt Renshaw could also come into the reckoning after he enjoyed a strong stint during last year’s county campaign in England, so selectors may be tempted to use 22-year-old.

After arguably being Australia’s best-performing batsman across the summer, Travis Head may have solidified his spot in the team, but there are still being questions asked.

Travis Head

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Usman Khawaja endured a rough summer on a personal front, although it did end on a positive as he scored an unbeaten century in the final Australian innings of the summer.

Again, it must be asked whether it was enough to save his place.

Kurtis Patterson made his debut against Sri Lanka and already has a Test hundred to his team. For New South Wales he bats higher up the order and perhaps a move up the Australian order could be coming.

Luckily for all of these players, there is still red ball cricket to be played over the next couple of months.

With four rounds remaining in the Sheffield Shield, those mentioned above as well as though on the edge of selection have a chance to book their place on the plane to England.

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A decision has been made to use the English Duke ball for the remainder of the season and performing against the ball used in the upcoming series could be a massive boost for individuals’ hopes.

The selectors have made it clear they want to reward form – just look at Kurtis Patterson’s late call-up – and if they are to follow that trend we could possibly see some bolters included in the touring party.

Potentially fail and those who found themselves in the team in the summer could find themselves on the outer.

An intriguing four rounds of cricket awaits.

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