Wednesday 13 December 2017 / 04:36 AM

Australian Test squad named

The Test squad is in…and the selectors have not answered any of our questions.

Young gun Josh Hazlewood is the only debutant chosen to face India, with Ryan Harris and Shane Watson named to make returns from injury.

 

A largely unchanged line-up from the Pakistan series will run out onto the Gabba next Thursday, although captain Michael Clarke has been named “subject to fitness”.

 

[READ: Steady Shane Watson should be first drop]

 

It looks as if the selectors will be giving Clarke right up until game day to prove he has overcome his hamstring problem, and we are none the wiser as to who may step in – as skipper and in the top-order batting slot – if he fails a fitness test.

 

Clarke was named in the Western Suburbs Sydney grade team over the weekend but did not bat in the team’s bizarre first innings.

 

Western Suburbs controversially declared their first innings at 0 for 17 in an attempt to give Clarke an extra week to get fit and bat in the second innings.

 

The Selectors’ failure to choose a backup for Clarke indicates that they will use the next round of Sheffield Shield matches to narrow down their candidates.

 

Phil Hughes, Alex Doolan, Peter Handscomb, Callum Ferguson and Joe Burns lead the list to replace Clarke if he is ruled out.

 

Hughes and Doolan have both had quiet starts to their Sheffield Shield campaigns, totalling 107 and 80 runs respectively.

 

[READ: Steady Shane Watson should be first drop]

 

Both will be considered, having played at Test level before – but they need a strong showing in the upcoming Shield games to have a chance.

 

Handscomb, Burns and Ferguson are the inform batsmen of the state competition, sitting atop the run scorers’ list.

 

Handscomb leads the way with 348 runs from only four digs, averaging a staggering 116.

 

Burns and Ferguson sit equal-second with an aggregate of 324 apiece; both have made their runs from six innings.

 

Ferguson steps forward as the most likely replacement. He has been on the cusp of Test selection since he made his ODI debut in 2009.

 

A good showing in this week’s Shield match for South Australia would lock down the replacement position should Clarke be unfit.

 

Of the 12 named in the squad, all bar Johnson, Siddle and Hazlewood will play in the domestic matches this week.

 

With this being said, it looks as if these three will be chosen ahead of Harris for the first Test in Brisbane.

 

AUSTRALIAN TEST SQUAD: Clarke (c), Haddin (vc), Harris, Hazlewood, Johnson, Lyon, Marsh, Rogers, Siddle, Smith, Warner, Watson.

[READ: Steady Shane Watson should be first drop]

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