Travis Head has tested positive for Covid-19 during a routine PCR test, leaving his number five batting spot vacant in the Australian top order red-hot.
Usman Khawaja is the obvious replacement, having been in a heated draft battle with Head before the start of the Ashes.
The 35-year-old has had an incredible season at Shield averaging 65.71, scoring 460 runs in five games.
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Khawaja was just seven runs behind Shield’s top run scorer, Tim Ward, who had an extra inning to take first place over the Queenslander.
Khawaja dropped from the sidelines during the 2019 Ashes series and has yet to return to the sidelines, while Australian selector chairman George Bailey has already hinted that classy hitters would play a role in this year’s Ashes.
“Trav has the go-ahead, we are also very excited that Uzzie is on the team and he obviously brings great versatility in roles where he can also hit,” Bailey explained during the Fox Sports BBL coverage.
“If Uzzie gets a chance, we think he’ll take it with both hands. The more difficult the decisions are, the more exciting it is in many ways. “
Khawaja would be considered the starting team, but a trio of players have been brought into the squad as a cover.
Mitch Marsh, Nic Maddinson and Josh Inglis have been called up, likely ready in case other players with Covid infractions are ruled out.
Marsh, a former all-rounder from the test, has become one of the most destructive white ball cricketers in the world.
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The 30-year-old’s last appearance wearing the baggy green came on the 2019 Ashes tour of England, but his T20 heroics have been a highlight of his career of late.
More recently, Marsh played a crucial role in Australia’s first T20 World Cup victory, with 185 races averaging 61.66.
He was also proclaimed player of the final with a brilliant 77 of 50 balls to lead his team to victory.
At BBL11, Marsh has scored 255 runs in just five games with an incredible 85 average, chasing great totals in his short span.
While short form runs don’t always translate to longer format, Marsh has changed his career after hitting a wall and breaking his hand in late 2019.
Nic Maddinson is another inclusion that would be welcomed by the Australian public.
The 30-year-old has shown he has matured after his move to Victoria, scoring big runs in just two games this Shield season.
Maddinson hit 250 runs at an average of 83.33, facing 448 balls in a calm and patient display of batting.
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While his first season in test cricket wasn’t that great, having played three games for just 27 runs with a 6.75 average, Maddinson is a fan favorite and when he scores runs, he’s one of the best players. from Australia to see.
He was likely brought in as a precautionary measure in case any other hitter is ruled out, but his Shield form saw some call for his inclusion in the Ashes squad in November.
Former South Australian sailor Chadd Sayers tweeted: “Nic Maddinson has to be a sight to hit 5 in the first ash test.”
“The form in recent years has been outstanding.”
Josh Inglis has also been added to the team, after initially missing a heated draft battle with current glove Alex Carey.
The 26-year-old has been a solid performer for Western Australia since being signed for the 2016-17 season.
His 2020/21 Sheffield Shield stats were brilliant, producing three centuries and two fifties for 585 runs with a healthy 73.12 average.
Being called up to the T20 World Cup squad means he missed most of Shield this season and his BBL form has garnered attention.
In his five games, Inglis has scored just 27 runs with a high score of 23.
Cleary is a talented player, and with time on his side, we may still see Inglis receive a loose green in the future.