Ashes captains.

Australia make surprise decision ahead of the first two Ashes Test matches

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Australia sprang an extra surprise selection for their Ashes squad with the inclusion of uncapped seamer Chadd Sayers in a 13-man party for the first two Tests.

Cricket Australia also announced that Western Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft, another yet to play Test cricket, will replace the out-of-form opener Matt Renshaw.

Shaun Marsh also returns to the squad to face England, while Tim Paine will keep wicket instead of Matthew Wade.

Those previously-unexpected switches had been widely touted over the past 24 hours. But few mentioned the possible inclusion of South Australia’s Sayers as an extra seam option alongside Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood.

National selector Trevor Hohns gave a strong indication, however, that the 30-year-old is unlikely to feature in next week’s Brisbane opener, but may well come into contention for the day-night Test which follows at his home ground.

“Chadd’s inclusion in the squad is with a view to the Adelaide Test and the conditions that we may see there,” said Hohns. “He swings the ball with good control and knows the conditions well at his home ground. He gives us this bowling option if required.”

Bancroft has been close to selection before, and has been in sparkling form of late – including a double-century in the latest round of Sheffield Shield matches.

Hohns added: “Cameron has been a player of interest to us for some time now, having been unlucky to miss out on the Test tour to Bangladesh that was cancelled in 2015.

“He is a very talented and tough cricketer, who shows a good temperament for Test cricket. He has thoroughly earned and deserves his call-up following some outstanding performances in the early rounds of the JLT Sheffield Shield competition this season.”

WA v SA - Sheffield Shield: Day 3

The selection of Paine has mystified many observers of the game. He last played Test cricket in 2010 and his only first-class century came over a decade ago. He considered quitting the sport last year.

“Tim was identified as an international player a long time ago and has always been renowned as a very good gloveman, also performing well for us whenever he has represented Australia in any format,” Hohns added.

“His batting form in recent outings for the Cricket Australia XI and Tasmania has been good.”

On the notable omissions, the national selector said: “Matt Wade has been left out of the squad following some inconsistent performances with the gloves and lack of form with the bat.

WA v SA - Sheffield Shield: Day 4

“Unfortunately his run of performances did not improve in the early rounds of Sheffield Shield, and we have opted to make a change. We still view Matthew [Renshaw] as a player of immense talent. But he is out of form at the moment, and we don’t feel an Ashes Test match is the best place for him to find form.

“We would like him to go back to first-class cricket and push his name forward with the selection panel through big runs.”

Australia Ashes squad: S Smith (Captain), D Warner, C Bancroft, J Bird, P Cummins, P Handscomb, J Hazlewood, U Khawaja, N Lyon, S Marsh, T Paine (wkt), C Sayers, M Starc.

Australia cricket
The Ashes
England cricket

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