Marcus Harris and Chris Tremain’s consistent domestic performances for their state side Victoria has been rewarded with the duo included in the Australian Test squad for the first two Tests against India which will be played in Adelaide and Perth. Harris is the second highest run-getter in the Sheffield Shield this season, scoring 437 runs at an average of 87.5. The highlight for the 26-year-old was his knock of 250 against New South Wales in Melbourne at the start of the season. Tremain, on the other hand, is the second-highest wicket-taker in the competition this season with 24 wickets, behind fellow Victorian pace bowler Scott Boland who has 26.
Apart from these two uncapped players, the squad also sees the return of Peter Handscomb, who was not picked in the side for the two-Test series against Pakistan in the UAE. The right-hander, who started his Test career in grand style with two fifties and two centuries in his first four Tests against South Africa and Pakistan in 2016/17, suffered a dip in form during the series against India and in the Ashes which resulted in his omission.
Usman Khawaja, who suffered a knee injury in the series against Pakistan, is slated to make a full recovery following surgery while Peter Siddle, who made a comeback in the Pakistan series, has been included as a back-up to the pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. However, Khawaja will have only one chance to prove his fitness and form before the India test when Queensland take on Victoria in the Sheffield Shield clash.
Speaking about the selection, Cricket Australia’s chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said the consistency of both Harris and Tremain helped them in getting selected for the Tests. “Harris has forced his way into the squad after an impressive start to the Sheffield Shield campaign for Victoria and in recent times has performed in high pressure matches, including Sheffield Shield finals. Tremain has also been a consistent wicket taker over the past two seasons, and thoroughly deserves his place in the squad,” Hohns said.
Tremain has played for Australia in ODIs during the series against South Africa in 2016. The right-arm pacer struggled for impact, taking just seven wickets in four games at an expensive economy rate of 6.37 as Australia were whitewashed 0-5 for the first time in their ODI history.
Australia squad for first two Tests
Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood (VC), Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh (VC), Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (C), Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain