Tim Paine named as Australian skipper for South Africa series
Sydney: Cricket Australia continued to back Tim Paine as the leader and named him the skipper of the national Test side for the upcoming series against South Africa.
Ben Oliver, Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager National Teams, said recent criticism of Paine following the loss to India "has been wide of the mark".
"Tim Paine has been an outstanding captain since taking over the Australian men's Test team in incredibly difficult circumstances," Oliver was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia website.
"Tim has the support of the team, the coach and everyone else at Cricket Australia and the result of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series has done nothing to diminish that," Oliver said.
"Tim is in career-best form with the bat and, while the series against India was not his best with the gloves by his own admission, he remains in the top echelon of wicketkeepers globally," he said.
India, the team that was hit by injuries to major players and with the absence of Virat Kohli, scripted history by beating Australia 2-1 to clinch the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Oliver said, "And as a leader, he has been brilliant. To captain a squad through the many challenges presented by the pandemic - not least the unique pressures of hub life - is no easy task and Tim did that with strength, humility and good humour."
"After a series that attracted so much global interest, it was inevitable there’d be scrutiny. But some of the commentary surrounding Tim and his position as Test captain has been wide of the mark," he said.
However, Matthew Wade was dropped from the squad.
Wade played all four matches of the Vodafone Series that India won 2-1 – two of them as an interim opener with David Warner absent through injury – but his return of 173 runs from eight innings at an average of 21.62 meant he was under pressure to retain his place, read the Cricket Australia website.
Uncapped South Australia keeper Alex Carey will tour South Africa as the second wicket-keeper.
The other uncapped members of Australia's squad, the nucleus of which contested the Border-Gavaskar Series, are Sean Abbott, Michael Neser, Mitchell Swepson and Queensland quick Mark Steketee, who is the only member of that group not to have been involved in the India campaign.
"When presented with the challenging task of selecting two concurrent Australian men’s squads for overseas tours, we picked our first-choice Test squad given the importance of the proposed series against South Africa," head selector Trevor Hohns was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia.
"The squad is quite similar to that selected for the final two Tests of the recently-completed Border-Gavaskar series, with the exception of Matt Wade, who will join the Australian men’s T20I squad in New Zealand, and the addition of Alex Carey, who has been in strong form with both bat and gloves," Hohns said.
"It is testament to the depth of Australian cricket that the NSP (National Selection Panel) has been able to select two Australian men's international squads of such quality," he said.
Australia Test squad for Qantas Tour of South Africa: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.