Sydney: Australia will take four spin-bowling options to India for their four-Test tour, with Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith named on Thursday in a 17-man squad alongside Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty.
The first Test starts on February 22 in Chennai and national selector John Inverarity said they would be ready for all conditions, with five pace bowlers also included.
“This squad has the flexibility that will be required for the varying conditions expected in India, and it will provide valuable experience to a number of young players,” he said.
“The squad includes a spin bowling all-rounder in Maxwell and a medium-fast all-rounder in Moises Henriques.
“In aiming for more depth in a bowling attack, the squad would allow for three pace bowlers, a leading spinner and Maxwell, or two pace bowlers, the two spinners and Henriques. These are two of the options.”
Doherty earned selection after recent good form and in the the absence of injured left-arm orthodox spinners Michael Beer and Jon Holland.
“We certainly feel he is much improved in the longer format of the game since he made his Test debut in 2010-11 against England,” Inverarity said of Doherty. “He adds further flexibility to the squad, depending on the conditions.”
The pace attack is led by Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Jackson Bird.
Explosive opener David Warner was also included, despite a fracture to his left thumb which has forced him out of Australia’s first two one-day internationals against the West Indies on Friday and Sunday.
Inverarity said he was confident Warner, who is averaging 44.5 from 15 Tests, would recover in time.
“The indications are that he’ll certainly be okay for the first Test starting on the 22nd of February,” he said.
With Australia needing to fill the void left by retired batsman Mike Hussey, Usman Khawaja, who hasn’t played in the Test side since December 2011, got the nod and is a strong chance to play in Chennai.
Inverarity said he was in Canberra on Tuesday to see Khawaja make 69 for the Australian Prime Minister’s XI against the West Indies and was impressed.
“So I think Usman is a very good chance of being in the first Test team.”
Australia play two warm-up matches ahead of the first Test in Chennai, followed by Tests in Hyderabad, Mohali and Delhi.
The Squad: Michael Clarke (capt), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Moises Henriques, James Pattinson, Xavier Doherty, Jackson Bird, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith.