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Bancroft, Burns get the nod; Khawaja, Harris left out of Australia's Test squad
Australia's Test squad

Bancroft, Burns get the nod; Khawaja, Harris left out of Australia's Test squad

Cameron Bancroft and Joe Burns were picked in Australia’s Test squad to face Pakistan as Usman Khawaja and Marcus Harris were axed after failing to impress in the Ashes and practice match against Pakistan.

Bowling all-rounder Michael Neser was also added to the squad to back-up the likes of Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson.

National selector Trevor Hohns said Neser’s ‘ability to move the ball both ways’ won him the spot in the squad.

"We are blessed to have four of the best fast bowlers in the world challenging each other for spots and most importantly playing as a group," he added.

Bancroft was picked for the Australia A team at the last moment when batsman Nic Maddinson pulled out of the squad over mental health problems.

He impressed in his only innings against an exciting Pakistan pace battery, top-scoring with 49 in Australia A’s total of 122. Bancroft is the third opener in the squad alongside David Warner and Joe Burns.

National selector Trevor Hohns suggested Joe Burns would open the batting with Warner, pointing out that "he has Test hundreds on the board and has combined very well with David in the past".

"As always there were players who were unlucky to miss the squad. Those players remain firmly in the national selection frame and will continue to be monitored closely," said Hohns on Harris and Khawaja.

Travis Head was also inducted for the middle-order slot after young Victorian batsman Will Pucovski pulled out of the squad at the last moment citing ‘mental wellbeing’.

Pucovski, who is considered a batting prodigy, made a significant impact when he struck a fine 243 for his state side against Western Australia.

Following that double century, he had opened up about his problems with mental health.

"It was one of those things where what it looked like from the outside wasn't quite matching up with what it was on the inside,” he told reporters.

"I was more confused than at any other time in my life," he added.

He was back in contention after recovering and was added to Australia’s squad to face Sri Lanka, but was released during the second Test as the problems seemed to have continued once again.

Players in recent times have started to open up more on their mental health. Pucovski is the third Australian cricketer to take a break from cricket after Nic Maddinson and Glenn Maxwell.

The first Test will be played at Brisbane on November 21.

Australia Test squad

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