Cricket: Star-studded Australia squad named for upcoming test tour to New Zealand

  • 09/02/2024

Seamer Michael Neser has been recalled for Australia's two-test tour to New Zealand next month.

The Queenslander is the most notable addition to the 14-man squad, which beat Pakistan and drew with West Indies in their recent home series, alongside quick Scott Boland and batter Matthew Renshaw.  

Swing bowler Neser's selection and Nathan Lyon's inclusion as the only spinner indicates the Australians are expecting seam-friendly conditions at Wellington's Basin Reserve and Christchurch's Hagley Oval.

Neser and Boland fill the void left by injured bowlers Jhye Richardson and Lance Morris.

Otherwise, the squad is at full strength. Pat Cummins will lead the team, which includes star batters Steve Smith, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne.

Cummins and Mitchell Starc anchor the strike bowling attack, next to Josh Hazlewood and allrounder MItchell Marsh.

The series makes the first visit of an Australian test team to NZ shores since 2016, which they won 2-0.

"It's great to see Michael Neser get another opportunity in the squad following his ever-consistent performances over a long period of time and the conditions we expect," said chief selector George Bailey.

"As we know every test match provides vital opportunities to obtain valuable WTC points and we expect this tour will be a tough challenge against a very strong side who have been so consistent at home for a long period of time."

Australia will touch down in Aotearoa on the back of their second-test defeat to West Indies, who earned a remarkable eight-run win in Brisbane late last moth.

Earlier this week, the Blackcaps beat an under-strength South Africa side by 281 runs in their first test showdown. They'll meet again in Hamilton, starting Tuesday, with the squad for the Australia series expected to be announced shortly thereafter.

The first test against Australia in the capital starts on February 29.

Australia test squad v New Zealand: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc