Although nothing has been officially confirmed but Cricket Australia and ECB(England and Wales Cricket Board) are in talks for a potential Limited-over series in England in September. Australia’s selectors have now named a preliminary list of 26 players for the UK tour. With an eye on this potential tour the selected Aussie players in the 26-man preliminary squad are all set to resume training. This preliminary squad consists of three uncapped players. Daniel Sams, Riley Meredith and Josh Philippe. All of them had a fantastic BBL and have been performing consistently well in the domestic circuit. Wicketkeeper Josh Philippe has been widely praised and is regarded as the future of Australia.

The most notable inclusions are of Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell. Both the Melbourne Stars players have been included in this list. Allrounder Marcus Stoinis was dropped from the squad after a poor performance in the World Cup but is now back in contention and is close to making a comeback. Maxwell on the other hand last played a game for Australia in October against Sri Lanka last year. Peter Handcomb, Shaun Marsh and Nathan Coulter-Nile have been overlooked. Usman Khawaja and Travis Head have been included. Head has been out of favour in white-ball cricket lately but still finds a place in the list. Khawaja despite having good numbers in ODI cricket was dropped and wasn’t even handed a contract. He has been now been given a lifeline by the selectors. Jhye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff were not considered due to their respective injuries and due to this Andrew Tye has been named in the 26-member squad despite not fetching a state contract recently. Other than this, most of the regular faces have been named.

Australia’s preliminary squad: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Michael Neser, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams, D’Arcy Short, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

CA acknowledged that there remain several hurdles to overcome, CA termed the move as ‘A positive step, albeit not a definitive one’. “We continue to work with the ECB and government agencies and a decision on the tour will be made in due course” said Ben Oliver, Cricket Australia Executive General Manager of National Teams. “In the meantime, the identification of a preliminary list will enable us to work with players and states more directly on the preparation for the tour in the hope it can proceed. The health and well-being of players and staff along with our commitment to public health within our commitment to public health within our communities, remain our utmost priority,” National Selector Trevor Hohns noted that the rationale behind such an extensive list is not only to ensure the Australian team has cover in case of contingencies, but also a view towards the two upcoming World Cups. “This preliminary list covers several exciting players who have excelled at state level and in the BBL, This list also covers the contingencies of playing One-Day Internationals and T20I in bio-secure hubs with the likely prospect of not being able to bring in replacements should the tour proceed”. The final squad will be announced after the tour is officially confirmed.

By Arvind Krishnan

Cricket writer, statistician and analyst. An unorthodox media student, marketing runs in his blood. Sports Marketer and analyst.