Josh Inglis will play his first match against international opposition since his golf-course mishap ended his T20 World Cup campaign, with the wicketkeeper to captain the Prime Minister’s XI against West Indies later this month.
A host of fringe Test players, including five who already hold Baggy Greens, will take on the Windies in a four-day first-class fixture at Canberra’s Manuka Oval later this month ahead of the tourists’ two-Test NRMA Insurance Test campaign against Australia.
Prime Minister’s XI squad: Josh Inglis (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Henry Hunt, Todd Murphy, Michael Neser, Matt Renshaw, Mark Steketee
Inglis cut his hand when a six-iron club snapped in his hand on the golf course in Sydney a few days before Australia’s World Cup campaign got underway last month. The Leeds-born gloveman has since returned via the Marsh One-Day Cup.
Peter Handscomb meanwhile will have a further opportunity to push his Test case following his dominant start to the Sheffield Shield season, while Marcus Harris, Michael Neser, Ashton Agar and Matthew Renshaw will also be pushing for recalls.
Harris has been named in Australia’s 13-player Test squad to face the Windies in Perth and Adelaide, while selection chief George Bailey has suggested Handscomb is firmly on the radar of national selectors for next year’s India tour.
The other player with international experience in the PM’s XI side is Sean Abbott, who got close to a Test berth two summers ago but has fallen behind behind the likes of Neser, Scott Boland and Jhye Richardson in the fast-bowling pecking order.
Henry Hunt, the country-NSW opener who has previously played in Canberra’s Premier Cricket competition with Queanbeyan, along with Aaron Hardie, Todd Murphy and Mark Steketee are the others to earn selection.
Those players will miss an overlapping round of Sheffield Shield fixtures due to the PM’s XI match, which will be played under lights with a pink ball to help the Windies prepare for the day-night Test in Adelaide.
Australia men’s assistant Andre Borovec will coach the side with assistance from former Big Bash batter Jono Dean, the current head coach of the ACT Meteors women’s side.
This is the first PM’s XI picked by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who was elected earlier this year.
“The Prime Minister’s XI has a rich history within Australian Cricket and I am delighted to confirm the squad as we celebrate its 70th year,” said Albanese.
“Following an engaging selection meeting with George Bailey and Tony Dodemaide, we have agreed on a squad that mixes the country’s most exciting young cricketers with some highly experienced players.
“I want to thank Josh Inglis for taking on the role of captain and look forward to watching him lead a side which will compete strongly while remaining true to the traditions and values of the Prime Minister’s XI.”
The first PM’s XI match was played in 1951, coincidentally also against West Indies, and had been arranged by Sir Robert Menzies after being disappointed that no fixtures against international opposition had been scheduled for Canberra that summer.
The concept was revived by Bob Hawke in 1984 and has been a near-permanent fixture on the calendar since, though it took a hiatus over the past two summers due to the pandemic.
“It’s a very strong squad for this match consisting of our leading first-class performers and, for many of the players, offers further exposure to an international side after touring Sri Lanka earlier this year,” said Bailey, a former PM’s XI captain himself.
“It’s an exciting game for them to continue the traditions of the Prime Minister’s XI which is a great honour for any cricketer.
“We thank Prime Minister Albanese for his input into the squad which he agrees is in line with the traditions of the match, with some of the country’s most exciting young cricketers mixed with some highly-experienced players.”
Men’s NRMA Insurance Test Series v West Indies
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner
West Indies squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Anderson Phillip, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Devon Thomas
Nov 17-19: ACT/NSW XI v Windies, Canberra
Nov 23-26: PM’s XI v Windies, Canberra (day-night)
Nov 30 – Dec 4: First Test, Perth Stadium, 10:20am
Dec 8-12: Second Test, Adelaide Oval, 2:30pm (day-night)