Uncapped Chadd Sayers named in Australia squad for NZ Tests
Australia have included uncapped South Australia pacer Chadd Sayers in the 14-man squad for the upcoming two-Test series against New Zealand. The 28-year-old Sayers joins Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson and the the recalled Jackson Bird in a potent seam bowling attack as Australia look to follow up their home series win over their Trans-Tasman rivals with another that could see then usurp India to the top of the ICC Test Rankings.
Scott Boland and spinner Steve O'Keefe, who were in the squad for the New Year's Test in Sydney, make way for the new additions. Bird, the 29-year-old Tasmanian seamer, played the last of this three Test matches for Australia during Ashes 2013 while Sayers was a member of the A tour of the British Isles that preceded that series.
Australia, look to exploit the grassy conditions at the two venues - Wellington and Christchurch - with a well-rounded seam attack and have thus gone in with just the one specialist spinner in Nathan Lyon.
Siddle, sidelined after the Melbourne Test against West Indies with an ankle injury, comes back to the squad, as does Pattinson, whose progress from a shin soreness continues to be monitored by Cricket Australia's medical practitioners.The batting line-up, however, presents a more settled look.
"We are delighted to welcome Chadd Sayers into the squad for the first time and his inclusion is thoroughly deserved," Chief Selector Rod Marsh was quoted as saying by CA. "Both he and Jackson Bird can swing the ball and operate at a lively pace and we believe both will be well suited to the conditions we are likely to encounter in New Zealand.
"Our fast bowling depth is certainly being tested because of injury and retirement but the positive part of that is it means there are opportunities for other players to stand up in domestic cricket and stake their claims. On that basis it is an exciting time for Australian cricket.
"We know that New Zealand is going to come hard at us, that their players will want some form of pay-back for the Test series loss suffered in the series we played in this country late last year and that they will want to give captain Brendon McCullum a send-off into international retirement with a series win against their near-neighbours," Marsh added.
The two Test matches will be played in Wellington (February 12 - 16) and Christchurch (February 20-24) and will be followed by a three-match Chappell-Hadlee ODI series.
Test Squad: Steven Smith (c), David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Chadd Sayers, Jackson Bird