Australia select full-strength squad for Test tour of Pakistan

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Australia select full-strength squad for Test tour of Pakistan
© Robert Cianflone HOBART, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 16: Pat Cummins of Australia looks on after winning the Fifth Test in the Ashes series between Australia and England at Blundstone Arena on January 16, 2022 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone / Getty Images)

Australia named a full-strength squad for next month’s three-Test tour of Pakistan.

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The Aussies will tour Pakistan for the first time in 24 years and the series will be the Test side’s first overseas visit since the 2019 Ashes.

In the first squad announcement since the resignation of Justin Langer as coach, fast bowler Josh Hazlewood returned from injury while Scott Boland, one of the stand-out performers during Australia’s 4-0 Ashes series win over England earlier in the season, retained his place.

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There were concerns that a number of senior players would not be a part of the Pat Cummins-captained squad due to security issues after New Zealand and England withdrew from their tours of the south Asian nation late last year. However, those fears have been allayed.

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“This squad covers for all scenarios including the conditions given it has been such a long time since Australia was last in Pakistan,” said selector George Bailey.

“With several sub-continent tours and a one-day World Cup in India on the near horizon, this is a great first-up challenge for the group after the successful home Ashes series.

“It’s also a very historic tour given the length of time since an Australian side last toured Pakistan.”

The first Test starts in Rawalpindi on March 4, with the second scheduled for Karachi on March 12. Lahore will host the final Test from March 21.

The two teams will also play three ODIs and one Twenty20 match.

Meanwhile, selection panel chief Bailey denied Langer’s claims that a lack of backing from senior players and support staff was responsible for the former opening batsman’s departure as Australia coach.

Langer quit the post on Saturday despite leading Australia to victory at the Twenty20 World Cup before handing England a 4-0 defeat in the Ashes when he was only offered a six-month contract extension until October’s Twenty20 World Cup.

“I feel for him,” Bailey said on Tuesday. “Absolutely no one deserves to have the saga that has been played out as publicly as it has been.

“Clearly he didn’t get the length of contract extension offer that he was after so it hasn’t been ideal, but I don’t subscribe to the fact that it was individuals that were key to making the decision.”

Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.

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