Michael Neser. (Photo Source: Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Australia are all set to embark on a trip to New Zealand to play a Test series after eight years. After the completion of the three-match T20I series between the Trans-Tasman rivals, the two-match Test series will commence.
In 2019-2020, Australia comprehensively whitewashed New Zealand 3-0 at home. The Kiwis will look to reclaim the Trans-Tasman trophy against an Australian side that could be a little vulnerable after their shocking eight-run defeat in Brisbane against the West Indies last month.
On Friday, February 9, Australia announced a 14-man squad for the two-match Test series in New Zealand. Michael Neser and Scott Boland have been picked in the side as backups for the legendary pace trio of skipper Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Starc. Neser has been with the Australian side on several Test tours but has only played a couple of matches thus far. His last appearance in the longest format of the game came in December 2022.
While Michael Neser’s numbers in Sheffield Shield this season have been far from impressive (nine wickets at an average of 50.33), he is being considered an ideal bowler for the seamer-friendly conditions that are expected in New Zealand.
“It’s great to see Michael Neser get another opportunity in the squad following his ever-consistent performances over a long period of time and the conditions we expect,” national selector George Bailey was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
We’d be looking at a different type of fast bowler, if we do need to get them across it’s not too much of a challenge: Bailey
Meanwhile, express pacer Lance Morris sustained a side strain during the third ODI against the West Indies but Chief selector George Bailey indicated that he wouldn’t have made it to the squad even if he was fit. The key reason for that is the next tour is in the neighbouring country, so sending a player there will not pose much of a problem as and when needed.
“We’d be looking at a different type of fast bowler. The luxury of this tour only being in New Zealand, it’s not a massive trip, so a number of players in specific roles that if we do need to get them across that it’s not too much of a challenge, so Lance would have been in that boat,” Bailey said.
New Zealand have risen to the top of the World Test Championship (WTC) points table after their win against South Africa in the first Test. Meanwhile, Australia will look to make up for the lost ground after their defeat to the West Indies.
“As we know every Test match provides vital opportunities to obtain valuable WTC points and we expect this tour will be a tough challenge against a very strong side who have been so consistent at home for a long period of time,” Bailey said.
Australia have only named 14 players in the squad, with no like-for-like replacements for the likes of Alex Carey and Nathan Lyon. However, the short distance between the two countries will allow a player to be sent in a quick time if needed.
Australia squad for New Zealand Tests: Pat Cummins (C), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc
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