The Australia allrounder Mitchell Marsh, who is one of the primary contenders to be appointed as Test skipper Tim Paine’s deputy, has been handed the responsibility to lead Australia A squad for the four-day games during the tour to India in skipper. Marsh will be the captain of a strong 14-man squad that will feature experienced campaigners including Peter Handscomb, Ashton Agar, Usman Khawaja and Matthew Renshaw.
The 26-year old left-hander was backed by former Australia legend Adam Gilchrist to be the vice-captain of the Test side, and the two-matches tour will be the perfect opportunity for Marsh to showcase his leadership qualities. The two four-day games between India A and Australia A will be played from September 2 in Vizag.
The South Australia captain Travis Head, on the other hand, will lead Australia A squad for the one-day tri-series against India A and South Africa A in Vijayawada in August.
“We’re looking for leaders for future Australian teams, and Travis, Mitch, and Alex are all very impressive young men,” national selector Trevor Hohns told reporters.
He further added that the series will be “exciting opportunity” for the two cricketers. “Travis and Mitch both have captaincy experience at the state level, and this is an exciting opportunity for them to lead a new group of players in different conditions. Alex, as our Twenty20 vice-captain in the UK and Zimbabwe, is also someone we rate very highly as a leader, and this is another opportunity for him to develop those skills,” he said.
In spite of the selectors not including Shaun Marsh, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell in the squad, Hohns said that the management is pleased with the assembled players. “We’re really pleased with the squads we have assembled for this tour. We’ve got a couple of really experienced international cricketers, a large group who have had a taste of playing for Australia already, and some emerging players who have performed strongly and we believe have the potential to one day play for their country,” he said.
The tour is being seen as a preparatory step for Australia’s two-Test tour against Pakistan in UAE, against who, they struggled four years ago, and lost the series 2-0.
“It’s an extremely important tour, as we look for players who can adapt and find ways to excel in sub-continent conditions. With Australia’s series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates fast approaching, it’s a chance for some players to push for selection for that series, and for all players to gain experience in sub-continent conditions,” Hohns said.