Melbourne: Tasmania fast bowler Andrew Fekete and Western Australia opening batsman Cameron Bancroft are in sight of a test debut after being named in an inexperienced Australia squad for next month`s tour of Bangladesh.
The uncapped pair are the newcomers in captain Steven Smith`s 15-man squad, which includes 10 players with less than 10 tests, as Australia look to rebuild following a string of retirements after the Ashes defeat in England.
A late-bloomer who made his first-class debut only two years ago, 30-year-old Fekete will reinforce a pace attack shorn of Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood. The pair have been rested after a "heavy workload" in recent months, Cricket Australia said on Monday.
Fekete will battle one-test bowler Pat Cummins for a place in the tests in Chittagong (Oct. 9) and Dhaka (Oct. 17), with left-armer Mitchell Starc and seasoned workhorse Peter Siddle expected to lead the attack.
Bancroft, a 22-year-old right-hander who can also keep wicket, enjoyed a prolific tour with Australia A in India and will hope to clinch one of two vacant opening spots following the retirement of Chris Rogers and an injury to David Warner.
Two-test right-hander Joe Burns is another opening candidate, along with Queensland captain Usman Khawaja, who has been recalled for the first time in two years.
Batsman Shaun Marsh has again been spared the selectors` axe despite failing twice during the Ashes in England when handed his chance.
“Our desire is that these players form the nucleus of our top-order, alongside Steve Smith and David Warner, for the foreseeable future, form and fitness permitting,” selectors chairman Rod Marsh said in a media release.
Seven-test batsman Adam Voges has been installed as an unlikely vice captain in place of Warner, who was scratched from the tour after breaking a thumb in England.
Hard-hitting limited-overs specialist Glenn Maxwell has also been recalled for the first time since the tour of the United Arab Emirates last year against Pakistan.
Legspinner Fawad Ahmed was omitted after failing to impress in his limited chances in the Caribbean and England, opening the door for left-arm spinner Stephen O`Keefe, who played his sole test in the UAE last year and bowled well in the recent A tour of India.
Steven Smith (capt), Adam Voges (vice captain), Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Andrew Fekete, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill, Stephen O’Keefe, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc.