Burns back in Australia’s Test squad

Batsmen Joe Burns, Travis Head and Cameron Bancroft are in the frame for recalls to the Australian team to play Pakistan in the first Test in Brisbane.

The trio have been included in a 14-man squad for the series opener starting on November 21 with incumbent opener Marcus Harris dropped.

Five pacemen have been selected – Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Michael Neser.


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Cummins and Head have been named joint vice-captains.

Queensland’s Burns appears the frontrunner to replace Harris as David Warner’s opening partner at the Gabba, with Head slotting back into the middle order after being dropped for the final Ashes Test against England in September.

Harris, seamer Peter Siddle and allrounder Mitch Marsh are the exclusions from that final Ashes Test team.

Young Victorian batsman Will Pucovski asked not to be considered for selection, citing mental health reasons.

The highly-talented but untried 21-year-old informed team management in Perth on Tuesday evening.

Cricket Australia’s national teams boss Ben Oliver applauded Pucovski “for having the courage to discuss his situation”.

“Will’s decision not to nominate for Test selection was the right one in the circumstances and one that everyone in the Australian cricket family supports,” he said in a statement.

“By Will bravely taking this position, he will undoubtedly inspire others facing similar challenges to speak up and take positive steps towards improving their mental wellbeing.”

Pucovski also withdrew from the Test squad against Sri Lanka last February for mental health reasons.

The second Test, a day-nighter in Adelaide, starts November 29.

Australia squad: Tim Paine (capt), David Warner, Joe Burns, Cameron Bancroft, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Michael Neser.

© AAP 2019