• Aussies drop Marsh brothers; call up Pucovski

    Brothers Shaun and Mitchell Marsh and batsman Peter Handscomb have been omitted from Australia’s squad for January and February’s Test series against Sri Lanka.

    Opener Aaron Finch, who was dropped for the last Test of the recent series defeat to India, has also been excluded.

    Fellow openers Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns have been recalled – and uncapped batsman Will Pucovski included.

    ‘There is no doubt the India series produced some disappointing results and we have now reviewed the squad ahead of the series against Sri Lanka,’ said national selector Trevor Hohns.

    ‘Joe Burns has had strong performances in first-class cricket this season, and we believe he can contribute strongly if given the chance in the series.

    ‘Matt Renshaw is a player with the ability to make big scores, and at 22 years old has 10 first-class centuries. He also performed extremely well in England during the County season. We see him as a long-term prospect as a Test player and have confidence in his ability to bounce back following a string of low scores early in the Shield season.

    ‘Will Pucovski is an exciting young player who is making his mark in the Sheffield Shield. He is another player with a track record of making centuries. We look forward to him joining the squad and congratulate him on his first national call-up.’

    Despite being overlooked for the Tests against Sri Lanka, the Marshes, Finch and Handscomb will play in this month’s three-ODI series against the Indians. Sydney will host the opening match on Saturday.

    ‘Ultimately Aaron, Peter, Shaun and Mitch have not produced the performances expected of them with the bat at the Test level. They have been given good opportunity, but have not produced the scores we need. All four are very good players and the door is by no means closed for them to return to play Test cricket for Australia,’ added Hohns.

    ‘They will all feature in the ODI series against India, and each of them forms an integral part of our white-ball strategy and set-up at the moment as we also focus on our journey to the 2019 World Cup. The challenge now is for them to make runs for Australia in the upcoming ODIs, and then to go back to the Sheffield Shield and make more runs.’

    The Australians and Sri Lankans will meet for two Tests, in Brisbane and Canberrra.

    Test squad: Tim Paine, Josh Hazlewood, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Will Pucovski, Matt Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle.

    Photo: Getty

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