Australia paceman Jackson Bird has been ruled out of Australia’s Test squad for their tour to South Africa and was replaced by speedster Chadd Sayers.
Bird pulled his hamstring during a domestic match in Brisbane last weekend and will be sidelined for up to three weeks.
The 31-year-old has taken 34 wickets and played nine Tests, since making his debut against Sri Lanka in December 2012. His most recent performance came in the drawn fourth Ashes Test in December 2017.
His replacement is uncapped 30-year-old South Australian medium-fast bowler, Sayers.
‘It’s disappointing for Jackson, but it is exciting for Chadd at the same time,’ said Australian captain Steve Smith.
‘It’s kind of a like for like sort of bowler, they’re pretty similar. They both stand the seam up nicely and Chadd’s been rewarded for what he has done in Shield cricket over the last couple of years, which is great.’
Sayers’ 62 scalps in the Sheffield Shield last season made him the leading wicket-taker in competition.
‘He’s a difficult one [to face],’ Smith added. ‘Because he is so short not many balls go over the stumps, which makes him a pretty handy proposition when the ball is seaming around. I think it is a good selection.’
Sayers adds to Australia’s dangerous pace unit of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson for the four-Test series which starts on 1 March in Durban.
Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc
Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images