Mitch Marsh in stunning Test recall as fans erupt over Ashes squad

Having been left out of the Test side since 2019, Mitch Marsh has been named in the Ashes squad ahead of Peter Handscomb.

Mitch Marsh and Peter Handscomb.
Mitch Marsh has secured a shock Test recall ahead of the Ashes, while Peter Handscomb missed out on the squad. Picture: Getty Images

Mitch Marsh has earned a shock recall to the Australian Test squad ahead of the World Test Championship final and Ashes series in England, while Peter Handscomb has been omitted in a surprising move from Cricket Australia. Matthew Renshaw made the squad, as did Marcus Harris, while West Australian batter Cameron Bancroft also missed out.

The inclusion of Marsh, who last appeared in the Test team during the 2019 Ashes series, took many cricket fans by surprise after such a lengthy spell out of the squad. Crucially, David Warner looks set to retain his spot as opener ahead of the WTC final against India at the Oval.

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Chief of selectors George Bailey flagged a potential review of Australia's squad after the second Ashes Test, opening the door for those who weren't included initially. However in the short term, fans were left in shock by the inclusion of Marsh, seemingly at Handscomb's expense.

Both players have showcase impressive first-class form, however Handscomb's strong form in India, combined with several excellent displays in English county cricket, had left many believing he would continue on in the Ashes. However selectors preferred Marsh as a back-up to all-rounder Cameron Green, particularly after the 23-year-old finger injury caused problems during the home summer.

Bailey said the changes made to the squad had been in part due to the vastly different conditions in England compared to those faced recently in India. “The World Test Championship is the culmination of more than two years of consistent performance at Test level by the team and the individuals involved, leading into an Ashes series which is always highly anticipated,” he said.

“The UK is a very different assignment from our most recent tour of India and some of the changes are based upon the conditions we are anticipating. Marcus (Harris), Josh (Inglis) and Mitch return to the squad and provide valuable depth and flexibility within their respective skillsets.

“We see value in revisiting the squad following the second Ashes Test given the short turnaround between the WTC final and the first Ashes Test, along with the length of the tour.”

Meanwhile on social media, the announcement of the squad left many with raised eyebrows at the inclusion of Marsh at the expense of Handscomb. Others however, were pleased to see the 31-year-old returning to the side.

David Warner likely to retain opening spot for Test Championship final

Ruled out of this year's tour of India with a fractured elbow, there had been some suggestion Warner may have played his last Test for Australia when he returned home with the injury. But he is now likely to be given one final chance to prolong his stay at the top of the order during the Ashes campaign, after a dismal showing in England in 2019.

Warner has previously hinted at retirement from Test cricket after this series, with the opener planning on a staged exit out out of the international game. There could still be some discussion over his spot during the series if he fails to perform in the Test Championship final from June 7 or first Ashes Test at Edgbaston from June 16.

Selectors on Wednesday chose to take both Harris and Renshaw in the initial squad as back-up batters, with both at their best at the top of the order. Harris has been the preferred next option outside of Asia for the past 18 months, but Renshaw was picked in India and has had a sound domestic record in recent years.

The unlucky man is Cameron Bancroft, overlooked as a batting option despite being the leading run-scorer in the Sheffield Shield last summer.

Matt Renshaw.
Matt Renshaw keeps his spot in the Test squad despite struggling in India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Australia have also opted for only four specialist quicks, with Scott Boland picked alongside Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. Todd Murphy has also been selected as a second spinner to Nathan Lyon, reaffirming his positioning ahead of the likes of Mitchell Swepson and Matthew Kuhnemann.


Pat Cummins (capt), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.

With AAP

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