You don’t have to look further than the quality of the players that have missed out to gauge how impressive Australia’s 17-man Test squad to take on India is.
There’s enough rough omissions to make another Test XI – though the bowlers would have a lot of work to do and you’d have one wicketkeeper too many.
Here, we take a look at the roughest snubs and biggest winners from Australia’s squad announcement.
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The only opener with more runs this season than Marcus Harris is state teammate Will Pucovski and selectors could only find room for one of the Victorians in Australia’s 17-man squad.
With David Warner a lock and selectors giving incumbent Joe Burns the opportunity to rediscover his touch with the squad, there was only space for the three openers in the group, making Harris the unlucky man to miss out.
The southpaw started his campaign with a bang, amassing 239 runs against South Australia. He followed that up with a patient 71 in the first innings against WA and a solid 45 in the second to take his season haul to 355 runs at an average of 118.33.
The nuggety opener’s form has been impressive since his axing, with 797 Shield runs at 66.42 in that time, but he’ll have to wait a little bit longer for his next chance at Test cricket.
Marcus Harris could not have done much more to be picked.Source: Getty Images
Group Whiteman with the plethora of opening candidates who did nothing wrong but simply could not overcome the avalanche that was Pucovski.
Opening the batting with Cameron Bancroft, Whiteman has helped himself to 333 runs at an average of 55.50, including two centuries across six innings. It is the opener’s best Shield season to date.
However, with a first-class career average of 35.87 it was always going to take something far more extravagant to force his way into the Test squad.
Sam Whiteman is enjoying a big season.Source: Getty Images
If Shaun Marsh was even just five years younger, it is hard to see how he would miss out on selection in a 17-man Test squad. Capable of batting anywhere in the order and bringing a wealth of experience with him, the veteran brings plenty to the table in terms of squad value.
And right now there is so much more than the intangibles when it comes to the Western Australian – make no mistake, the 37-year-old is a man in form and has been for a while now.
Marsh was the third highest run-scorer in last summer’s Sheffield Shield (724 at 48.26) and he has continued to dominate this summer.
He only trails Pucovski by 10 runs on this season’s run tally (485 at 97.00) and he is the only player with three centuries to his name for the campaign.
Despite that run of form, with Australia’s batting order enjoying as much stability as it has had in years and a host of young stars pushing for selection, there was no room for Marsh in the squad.
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Shaun Marsh is churning out the runs.Source: Getty Images
In the end, Usman Khawaja simply left his run too late.
Dropped from Australia’s Test team midway through last year’s Ashes, Khawaja’s luck and form fell off a cliff in last season’s Sheffield Shield.
The languid left-hander was the victim of some rough umpiring over the course of the 2019-20 season, but after finishing that campaign with an average of 18.36 he was going to need to make an iron-clad case this season if he wanted a recall.
Alas, the left-hander posted scores of 9, 2, 4 and 4 across his first four innings for the season before finding his groove with a second innings 41 against NSW. He backed up that start with a drought-breaking century against South Australia and followed it with an unbeaten run-a-ball 46 in the second innings.
In another year that would have been enough to get the veteran of 44 Tests into the squad, particularly given the form of incumbent opener Burns, but spots are at a premium right now.
Usman Khawaja left his run too late.Source: Getty Images
Nic Maddinson has very much been a victim of the success of his team’s top-order. Maddinson has been the Shield’s best batsman since joining Victoria.
In an injury impacted maiden campaign for the Victorians, Maddinson averaged 80.42 in 2018-19, scoring three centuries and one half-century across just eight innings. He was even more impressive last summer, topping the season run-scoring with 780 at 86.66, with two centuries including a double.
It’s a run of form that should have had him at the front of the queue for selection.
Alas, this season Maddinson has been out of the spotlight and seemingly forgotten. Batting at No.4, he has not had much time in the middle across Victoria’s first two games, belting a nine-ball 22 in the side’s season opener as his side looked to set a target following a record-breaking 486-run opening stand.
He got pad-rash in game two as well, coming out to bat a 2-362 and making an unbeaten 27 before notching 39 on day four.
Still, he hasn’t been completely forgotten, called into the A-squad.
The forgotten man.Source: Getty Images
Moises Henriques shared Sheffield Shield player of the year honours with Maddinson last season and like Maddinson has also missed out on selection.
Unlike Maddinson he has had the chance to prove his case and the NSW veteran well and truly did. Henriques started his season with a huge century against WA, helping himself to 167 runs that came with the Blues under pressure. He notched another ton in his most recent outing, batting NSW into a dominant position in the second innings against Tasmania.
In between those tons he posted scores of 15*, 23 and 8 – one more big score might have been enough to force selectors’ hands.
Will get the chance to impress with the A-squad.
Moises Henriques is a man in form.Source: Getty Images
The South Australian has been long anointed as Tim Paine’s understudy and would have been hoping to be included in a 17-man squad for the summer as cover for the Australian skipper. Instead, selectors have gambled on Paine’s durability and Matthew Wade’s reliability behind the stumps should they struck by emergency. The good news is, selectors have indicated they will still be able to call on Carey if Paine suffers an injury and there is enough time to bring him in.
Carey excelled in the Shield last summer (386 runs at 48.25) but has been absent from this year’s tournament to play in the IPL.
Australia opted against picking a specialist reserve keeper.Source: Getty Images
With Carey long considered the heir-apparent to Tim Paine with the gloves, WA keeper Josh Inglis was always up against it to get picked. In the end, neither Inglis nor Carey got picked, with Australia making the bold decision not to have a specialist keeper in reserve for Paine, trusting Wade to take on the role if needed.
Inglis’ stocks have risen markedly this summer, with the WA gloveman averaging 118 across the state’s first four matches of the season with two centuries to his name.
Rated among the country’s better keepers, Inglis is mounting a case to be next in line.
Josh Inglis’ stocks have risen markedly this summer.Source: Getty Images
Ashton Agar started the Shield season in serious style, taking a five-for and scoring a century in the same game. It was a performance that had him on course for a call-up to the Test squad as Nathan Lyon’s deputy but the runs and the wickets dried up from there before he was rested for the WA’s fourth game of the season. In another year he would have still made the squad, but this year Mitchell Swepson found his groove and left selectors no choice but to pick him.
In another year, Agar may have done enough.Source: Getty Images
He’s Australia’s Mr Reliable with the ball but Jackson Bird’s three year wait for a Test recall goes on.
The Tasmania quick has slid behind Michael Neser as Australia’s reserve fast bowler and closing in on his 34th birthday he looks likely to remain there. Afterall, there is not much more he could have done over the past 12 months to force his way back into the reckoning. He took 28 wickets at 22.35 last summer and only Swepson has taken more wickets than him this season (15 at 25.06).
He has been picked in the A-squad at least.
The wait goes on for Jackson Bird.Source: Getty Images
Like Bird, Trent Copeland has age counting against him and unlike Bird it has been nearly a decade since his last Test. Copeland has been seriously impressive this season, most notably accounting for five of Queensland’s top six to collect figures of 5-17 from 18 overs with 12 maidens. He has taken 10 wickets at an average of 19.20 so far, which is outstanding given the batter friendly conditions out of Adelaide’s smaller grounds.
Trent Copeland could not have done much more.Source: AAP
Pucovski has more to prove
It was his skills with both bat and ball that had Cricket NSW so excited when Sean Abbott first burst onto the scene in 2011.
This season, he is finally showing why. Abbott has been NSW’s second-highest run-scorer (261 runs) this season and has averaged 130.50 across his five innings so far. Of those five innings, three have gone past 50 and one – his most recent – saw him register a maiden first-class century.
Despite that, Abbott’s selection is a surprise given how well Australia is stockpiled with fast bowlers right now. Alongside having four proven world-class quicks in the stable, Michael Neser is also chomping at the bit to add himself to that bracket.
And while Abbott brings plenty to the table with bat and ball, so does Neser and neither would likely be entrusted as the all-rounder unless injury struck Cameron Green and even then it would be a bold gamble.
Bearing all that in mind, the New South Welshman should be commended for leaving selectors with no choice but to pick him.
With Neser looking as capable a batsman as Abbott, and Green the genuine all-rounder in the side, the New South Welshman was always up against it.
Sean Abbott gave selectors no choice but to pick him.Source: Getty Images
Joe Burns went into the summer as one of the few Test incumbents under pressure, and unfortunately the Queenslander failed to silence his critics. Burns managed just 57 runs at 11.40 across Queensland’s first three games of the season, managing a high score of 29 – his lone score above 20 so far.
Despite that lean run he has been picked in Australia’s 17-man squad and in truth it still would have been a shock if he had been left out. Burns did not dominate last summer but he was Australia’s third highest Test run-scorer for the season (256 at 32.00).
He looks set to be running the drinks at Adelaide Oval, but he’s in the squad which means he has the chance to impress selectors at training and in the nets alongside with Australia A. Importantly he is there too as their option if things do not go to plan.
Joe Burns can count himself lucky.Source: Getty Images
Will Pucovksi has seen off state teammate Marcus Harris (355 runs at 118.33 in the Sheffield Shield), and veterans Shaun Marsh (485 runs at 97) and Usman Khawaja (226 at 56.50) for his call-up and now looks to be on the cusp of a Test debut.
The 22-year-old sits atop the Sheffield Shield run-scoring charts (495 runs at 247.50) and it would be a shock if he was not named to open the batting alongside David Warner at Adelaide Oval.
David Warner’s partner for the first Test? It seems likely.Source: Getty Images
Cameron Green has won the race to be Australia’s batting all-rounder at a canter after tallying 363 runs at 72.60 this season, with a high score of 197 alongside two half-centuries, while returning to restricted bowling duties earlier this month.
His path into the side looks less clear cut than Pucovksi’s, with Test incumbents Travis Head and Matthew Wade both in form in the Sheffield Shield but it would be a small surprise if he did not get at least one Test at some stage this summer.
Cameron Green is suddenly Australia’s top batting all-rounder.Source: Getty Images
Enjoying life away from Brisbane, Mitchell Swepson has been picked as Nathan Lyon’s deputy for the summer after taking 23 wickets at 21.17 in the Sheffield Shield.
He is the Shield’s top wicket-taker and will be hoping he gets the chance to impress at the highest level after claiming three five-wicket hauls in his past two outings.
Two spinners at the SCG could be a real possibility.
Mitchell Swepson could be a chance at the SCG.Source: Getty Images