The Australian Test squad for India has been announced but experienced subcontinental specialist Peter Handscomb is in doubt after a local cricket injury.
Peter Handscomb has suffered an injury scare playing club cricket on Tuesday night and is under a cloud for next month’s tour of India.
Handscomb was named in an 18-man Australian squad on Wednesday as a batting reserve and back-up wicketkeeper but will now need to be assessed by medical staff before being passed fit to travel with the squad in a couple of weeks’ time.
It’s understood Handscomb hurt his hip in a seemingly innocuous knock while batting in club cricket in Melbourne on Tuesday night, but collapsed after hitting a six three balls later.
Handscomb immediately retired hurt as a precaution and spoke to selectors before the squad was finalised.
Australia still have plenty of time to change tack if needed, but will hope Handscomb’s issue is only minor and can recover in time to tour.
National Selector George Bailey said Handscomb was a key part of the squad.
“Peter Handscomb deserves his place back in the squad,” Bailey said.
“His domestic form has been strong recently and Pete has proven he can perform at Test level.
“His experience against spin on the subcontinent is valuable and he is also an exceptionally good close to the wicket catcher.”
Batsman Marcus Harris was left out of the squad, with Handscomb and Matthew Renshaw preferred for subcontinental conditions.
In a worse-case scenario where Handscomb had to be ruled out, Josh Inglis might replace him, given the need for wicketkeeping insurance.
Fast bowler Lance Morris has been picked for his first ever Australian Test tour and with Mitchell Starc to miss the first Test, could be a chance for early matches if selectors feel they need his air speed.
Starc will not join the squad until after the first Test which starts on February 9, suggesting he may also be in severe doubt for the second Test in Delhi.
Cameron Green has been named despite his broken finger and is in contention to play the first Test.
Bailey said the team was ready for the challenge of beating India in India – arguably cricket’s toughest mountain to climb.
“After a successful home summer the squad is excited by the challenge a Test tour to the subcontinent provides,” Bailey said.
“We have selected a squad that provides the depth and flexibility required to adapt depending on the conditions we may encounter.”
As reported by News Corp, Australia has chosen four spinners – Nathan Lyon, Ashton Agar, Todd Murphy and Mitchell Swepson.
Bailey identified Agar as a key man for his left-arm spin.
“Ashton Agar continues to impress following his comeback in Sydney and we believe left-arm finger spin will play an important role in Indian conditions,” Bailey said.
Originally published as Australia India Test tour squad: Peter Handscomb named but in doubt with injury
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