Matthew Wade’s time in the baggy green is all but over after he was chosen to go on Australia’s T20 tour of New Zealand instead of the Test tour of South Africa.
With the five white-ball games against the Black Caps taking place at the same time as the Tests against the Proteas – although the latter series is still yet to receive final sign-off due to biosecurity concerns – Cricket Australia on Wednesday named their two squads for the tours.
Wade’s selection for the trip to New Zealand, where he will be captain Aaron Finch’s deputy, has all but ended his Test career after a lean run of form. Travis Head and Moises Henriques loom as the most likely replacements at number five.
With Wade out of the Test set-up and set to take the gloves in the T20s, Alex Carey has been selected in the South Africa squad as the back-up wicketkeeper to Tim Paine, whose captaincy and place in the side was given a massive endorsement by selector Trevor Hohns.
“Tim Paine was excellent at number seven against India and as a batsman, wicketkeeper and captain still has much to offer in the Test arena,” Hohns said.
CA’s general manager of teams, Ben Oliver, also added his support for Paine.
“Tim Paine has been an outstanding captain since taking over the Australian men’s Test team in incredibly difficult circumstances,” Oliver said.
“Tim has the support of the team, the coach and everyone else at Cricket Australia and the result of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series has done nothing to diminish that.
“Tim is in career-best form with the bat and, while the series against India was not his best with the gloves by his own admission, he remains in the top echelon of wicketkeepers globally.
“And as a leader, he has been brilliant. To captain a squad through the many challenges presented by the pandemic – not least the unique pressures of hub life – is no easy task and Tim did that with strength, humility and good humour.
“After a series that attracted so much global interest, it was inevitable there’d be scrutiny. But some of the commentary surrounding Tim and his position as Test captain has been wide of the mark.”
Aside from Wade’s omission and Carey’s call-up, there was no change to the group of batsmen chosen for the Test squad from those used in the recent series against India.
Marcus Harris, Will Pucovski and David Warner remain the three opening options after Joe Burns remained on the outer, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith will bat at three and four respectively, and Cameron Green will retain his place in the middle order.
“We’ve been very impressed with Cameron Green’s first foray into Test cricket as an all-rounder batting at number six,” Hohns said.
That leaves just two reserve batsmen in the 19-player group – likely to be Harris and Henriques – after veterans Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh were overlooked for a late-career recall.
Jhye Richardson has been picked in the 18-man T20 squad despite calls for him to be given another shot at Test cricket, while fellow bowlers Sean Abbott, Mark Steketee, Michael Neser and Mitchell Swepson will head to South Africa with the red-ball side along with squad regulars Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon.
The T20 squad is full of players who’ve impressed in this year’s Big Bash. Leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha has been selected on the back of an excellent maiden campaign with the Thunder, and Riley Meredith and Josh Philippe are also chances of making their international debuts on the back of BBL form.
The race for top- and middle-order spots in the white-ball side will be tightly contested, with Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner, D’Arcy Short and Philippe all vying for a place in the side.
Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar are the spin options alongside Sangha, and Richardson and Meredith are joined in the fast bowling cartel by Jason Behrendorff, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams and AJ Tye.
Tim Paine (c) (Tasmania)
Pat Cummins (vc) (New South Wales)
Sean Abbott (New South Wales)
Alex Carey (South Australia)
Cameron Green (Western Australia)
Marcus Harris (Victoria)
Josh Hazlewood (New South Wales)
Travis Head (South Australia)
Moises Henriques (New South Wales)
Marnus Labuschagne (Queensland)
Nathan Lyon (New South Wales)
Michael Neser (Queensland)
James Pattinson (Victoria)
Will Pucovski (Victoria)
Steve Smith (New South Wales)
Mitchell Starc (New South Wales)
Mark Steketee (Queensland)
Mitchell Swepson (Queensland)
David Warner (New South Wales)
Aaron Finch (c) (Victoria)
Matthew Wade (vc) (Tasmania)
Ashton Agar (Western Australia)
Jason Behrendorff (Western Australia)
Mitchell Marsh (Western Australia)
Glenn Maxwell (Victoria)
Ben McDermott (Tasmania)
Riley Meredith (Tasmania)
Josh Philippe (Western Australia)
Jhye Richardson (Western Australia)
Kane Richardson (South Australia)
Daniel Sams (New South Wales)
Tanveer Sangha (New South Wales)
D’Arcy Short (Western Australia)
Marcus Stoinis (Western Australia)
Ashton Turner (Western Australia)
Andrew Tye (Western Australia)
Adam Zampa (New South Wales)