Spencer Johnson has been named in Australia A, putting him on the Ashes radar

Fast left arm from South Australia With the mid-year England tour in mind, Spencer Johnson was selected for a 14-man Australia A squad to tour New Zealand in April. The squad included a mix of current Test squad members and long-term Test aspirations.

The India squad players Matt Renshaw and Mitchell Swepson, as well as Peter Handscomb, who is presently playing for Australia’s Test XI in India, have been named, although there were some noteworthy omissions. Instead of pulling recent Australia A and Test representatives out of county engagements to play two four-day games in Lincoln with Dukes balls in the first two weeks of April, the Australian selectors decided to let them travel to England to compete in the County Championship as part of their Ashes hopes.

Since impressing in his first BBL season for Brisbane Heat, Johnson, 26, has caught the attention of selectors. Since then, he has played in two first-class games for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield, recording hauls of 6 for 87 and 7 for 47. Talented Victoria seamer Mitchell Perry, who has taken 19 wickets in his previous three Shield games, has also been recognised for his exceptional play.

Johnson, Perry, Wes Agar, Xavier Bartlett, and Joel Paris are among the numerous seam bowlers in the A team, while Swepson is the lone spinner chosen despite not taking part in a Test during the India trip. Michael Neser and Mark Steketee, two of the top Shield wicket-takers, weren’t chosen for Australia A because they both already have a lot of playing experience in England.

The same reasoning holds true for leading Shield run scorer Cameron Bancroft and unproven Test opener Marcus Harris, both of whom participated in the 2019 Ashes series and are still on the selectors’ radars as they consider their options for Australia’s strongest starting lineup in England.

With four Shield centuries this year and six in the previous twelve months, Bancroft is playing his best cricket yet. He has also amassed runs in limited-overs matches for Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers. But throughout the course of five different seasons, he has already competed in 34 first-class games in England. Harris, who has amassed seven first-class century in England and two Shield hundreds this season, is scheduled to return to Gloucestershire at the beginning of April.

Sam Whiteman, another West Australia opener who was named player of the match in the Shield final a year ago, was also not chosen because he committed to playing the entire county season with Northamptonshire.

Tim Ward, a left-hander from Tasmania, will open for Australia A in New Zealand with Renshaw. Henry Hunt, a regular for Australia A in recent years who also scored a century on the tour of Sri Lanka last year, was not chosen. Aaron Hardie, an all-rounder from Western Australia, was chosen after last year’s tour of Sri Lanka with Australia A.

Western Australia gained a crucial advantage because to Teague Wyllie’s first-class hundred.

The batting group has also been chosen with a long-term perspective, with 18-year-old Teague Wyllie from West Australia, 20-year-old Campbell Kellaway from Victoria, and 24-year-old Nathan McSweeney from South Australia chosen for the tour to gain from the expertise of Handscomb and Renshaw.

Jimmy Peirson, a seasoned wicketkeeper from Queensland, has been picked as the team’s lone wicketkeeper in recognition of his exceptional performance for Australia A on last year’s tour of Sri Lanka and at Shield level. Josh Inglis, who is now on an ODI tour with Australia in India before the A series in New Zealand, is still seen as a promising Test wicketkeeper, second only to current Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

George Bailey, the chair of the selectors, said that it provided an opportunity to introduce a younger group to various situations.

“We are committed to the continued expansion of the Australia A program and these games are specifically designed to expose these players to conditions they may not experience in Australia,” Bailey siad.

“With an Ashes this winter and a tour of New Zealand early next year, this is a great opportunity for this group to perform in similar environments to those countries.

“Having Pete Handsomb, Matt Renshaw, Mitch Swepson and Jimmy Peirson will add experience as senior players who can impart their knowledge of different conditions.”

Andre Borovec, a current assistant coach for Australia, will lead the Australia A team. Scott Prestwidge, who was a member of the coaching staff for Australia’s women’s team during their recent World Cup victory in South Africa, will oversee the bowling group while former Sri Lankan Test batter Thilan Sameraweera will serve as the tour’s hitting consultant.

Australia will host New Zealand A for two four-day games and three 50-over matches in September of this year as part of a reciprocal tour, which will take place in Australia’s northern states.

Australia A squad on tour to New Zealand: Wes Agar, Xavier Bartlett, Aaron Hardie, Peter Handscomb, Spencer Johnson, Campbell Kellaway, Nathan McSweeney, Joel Paris, Mitch Perry, Jimmy Peirson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Tim Ward, Teague Wyllie

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