WA pair Ashton Agar and Hilton Cartwright have been selected in Australia’s 13-player squad for the Test tour of Bangladesh in August, with Steve O’Keefe and Mitchell Starc the notable absentees.
National Selector Trevor Hohns confirmed O’Keefe had been left out, despite his 12-wicket haul in the First Test in India, having faded in that series.
O'Keefe also was involved an ugly off-field incident in April after the India Test series, after inappropriate comments while under the influence of alcohol at a Cricket NSW event which led to a $20,000 fine and ban from the 2017-18 Matador Cup.
Injury has ruled out Starc despite playing all three matches in Australia’s failed Champions Trophy campaign.
Team Physiotherapist David Beakley said: “Mitchell was due to go for follow up scans after the Champions Trophy, as part of his recovery plan.
“These scans have indicated his previous stress fracture has still not fully healed to the extent we would like.
“He will now undertake a period of rest from bowling with the aim to have him return for the one-day series in India in late September as he begins his build up to the Ashes.”
Selectors have allowed for a replacement for Starc to be added, increasing the squad to 14, and it is expected this selection will take place following the Australia A Tour of South Africa.
Hohns said the inclusion of Agar and Cartwright was deserved, with the former likely replacing O’Keefe as the second spinner in the side.
“Ashton has continued to impress us with his form and we believe his bowling is at a level where he deserves to be playing on the highest stage,” Hohns said.
“He will work nicely in tandem with Nathan Lyon and also brings a great all-round package to the team.
“Whilst Steve O’Keefe bowled well in Pune, he did not maintain this level in the remaining matches of the series and we believe the timing is right for Ashton to enter the set-up and test his all-rounder ability.
“Hilton averages nearly 60 runs in first class cricket and was the second highest run scorer in the Sheffield Shield last season with 861 runs. He is a quality player who we believe has a big future for Australia and we are very keen to see him carry on his good form in the sub-continent.”
The Australian side will arrive in Bangladesh on the 18 August and play a two-day tour match in Fatullah on 22 August before going on to play two Tests in Dhaka and Chittagong on 27 August and 4 September respectively.
Qantas Tour of Bangladesh squad
Steve Smith (C) NSW
David Warner (VC) NSW
Ashton Agar WA
Hilton Cartwright WA
Pat Cummins NSW
Peter Handscomb VIC
Josh Hazlewood NSW
Usman Khawaja QLD
Nathan Lyon NSW
Glenn Maxwell VIC
James Pattinson VIC
Matthew Renshaw QLD
Matthew Wade VIC