Test Cricket: Predicting Australia’s Test XI ahead of October’s Pakistan Tour in the UAE

As Australia A takes on India during a 50-Over clash tomorrow in Bengaluru, India, we chose to come up with ideas with the predicted squad.

That’s because the “Main” Australian side will head to UAE in October v Pakistan for two test matches.

Although, the tour isn’t going 100% official at this stage depending on the circumstances regarding the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Whether who comes onboard with the Baggy Green or not, some do miss out due to injury or play for the first time.

Opening Batsman and First Drop

Forget about Matt Renshaw’s emergency return to test back in March following the ball-tampering scandal.

He had a great run through April to June as an overseas player in the English first-class Championship with Somerset.

It’s not wrong that he scored plenty of hard-earned runs under his belt.

Renshaw made 523 first-class runs with three centuries out of his six-match stay in Somerset.

Though, a finger injury did cut his stint with Somerset very early halfway through the English Cricket season.

You can’t fault Renshaw as he has the caliber of the legendary left-hander and former Queensland Bulls star Matthew Hayden.

Who will partner Matt Renshaw?

Meanwhile, I read Simon Katch’s comments yesterday about Usman Khawaja maybe needing some help at the top two.

Back in late 2016 & early 2017, Khawaja did make a blistering impact filling in as an opener.

Remember his 145 v South Africa during the day-night test at Adelaide Oval when David Warner had treatment to his shoulder.

He batted there for a day and a half with so much patience before Vernon Philander LBW’ed him.

Then it comes at the second time when Matt Renshaw couldn’t bat a while when he got hit on the head.

No problem for him helping out that job again as Khawaja made 79 not out at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Khawaja looked more than ready to help out the team the best they can possible.

He recently got married to Rachel back in April & shed some weight to add more pace.

But it’s likely that he will continue batting at first drop & not go back what hasn’t worked in a long time.

Who’s the man to answer up top now?

Aaron Finch will the ideal batting partner for Renshaw.

It’s a long time coming since he made great scores in the limited-overs format at recent times for Australia and Surrey.

When it comes to Test Cricket, it’s a different story.

Don’t expect a very immediate impact just yet as Finch will adjust & see what he’s capable of in red-ball cricket.

Finch will have to build from the ground up from essential singles then gradually build to a couple of runs and boundaries.

He should be fine having scored seven first-class hundreds & 27 half-centuries since 2007.

From Numbers Four to Six

Peter Handscomb will come in at Four as done in his 13th & most recent Test cap in Johannesburg five months ago.

Though, he does recognize the opposition before at home where he scored two 100s against them at the Gabba and SCG respectively.

Handscomb’s ready to demonstrate what Steve Smith missed out to their depleted team.

Shaun Marsh will continue batting at Five where they needed him as one of Australia’s experienced players.

He scored two big hundreds against England during their disastrous ODI run at Cardiff & Chester-le-Street in June.

They need him to keep creating that magic having scored consistently last year’s Ashes Series at home.

Joining brother Shaun, it’s Mitchell Marsh at Six.

He has a big job ahead with the bat and ball when needed.

Numbers Seven to Nine

Tim Paine will once again lead this depleted side hoping to put behind his finger woes seen at recent times.

His wicket-keeping looks second to none as usual with his catches and stumping.

The same comes with the bat when giving a hand late in the innings to try and steer out of trouble.

At No.8, Mitchell Starc looks ready to go after returning to fitness and be the frontline lead bowler first hand.

Joining Starc & M. Marsh to round out the seam attack is Brendan Doggett.

Despite playing seven first-class games, Doggett has an opportunity to impress selectors early next month.

That’s because Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood don’t have enough recovery time from their injuries & risk themselves playing in the UAE.

Doggett’s named in Australia A’s four-day squad early next month v India A as he’s willing to impress Head Coach Justin Langer.

If so, his energy, age, and willingness will help Australia bring the next generation playing at the highest level.

Final two to complete the line-up.

Nathan Lyon will continue to drive the spinning machine after having picked up 16 wickets v South Africa five months ago.

Needing a hand to help out Lyon is Mitchell Swepson.

Don’t forget now is the time to demonstrate what he’s got with his leg spin with Australia A in India.

Should Swepson force into the starting XI, he’d be a useful exponent  in the style of Shane Warne against the Pakistan batsmen.

Plus the subcontinent wickets will suit him and ease the pressure on Lyon.

But first, picking up a couple of wickets early next month v India A is a must to keep Swepson on their radar.

Predicted Australian Test XI v Pakistan in UAE

  • Matt Renshaw
  • Aaron Finch
  • Usman Khawaja (Vice-Captain)
  • Peter Handscomb
  • Shaun Marsh
  • Mitchell Marsh
  • Tim Paine (Captain)
  • Mitchell Starc
  • Brendan Doggett
  • Nathan Lyon
  • Mitchell Swepson


Since it’s a depleted team without some of the big names, Pakistan will continue to win this Test Series, 2-0.

But what we’ve come up with the predicted squad, Australia will stick with their guns.

Expect Justin Langer to bring out the “fearless” approach and defy the odds.

A 1-1 Test Series conclusion would still be Pakistan’s way considering they’re the defending winners from 2014.

However, if any of them have filled in what Hazlewood or Smith have missed out on then, Australia should do well.

Criticise them all you like as they’re well early in their rebuilding phase.

And if you’re looking to tune this series on TV, it’ll be on the new FOX Cricket Channel.

Watch it on Channel 501 launching on Monday, September 17, 2018.


Author: Sports Benches

Matthew Nicholas, the founder/blogger/vlogger on Sports Benches, is an aspiring cricket player & passionate sports fanatic who lives in Sydney, Australia.

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