Perth: Travis Head was reappointed as a vice-captain of the Australian Test side on Wednesday as selectors look to the future, while Pakistan named two debutants for the opening clash in Perth.
Head was added as deputy alongside Steve Smith, skipper Pat Cummins said in announcing a playing XI with one change from their last Test against England at the Oval in July.
That will see fit-again veteran spinner Nathan Lyon, who is four wickets away from joining the elite 500 club, retake his place ahead of Todd Murphy.
David Warner will open the batting in what is expected to be his last Test series. He is under intense scrutiny after a lean run and questions over whether he deserves to be in the side.
The popular 29-year-old Head was previously Test co-vice-captain with Cummins when Tim Paine was in charge and has since entrenched himself in the side.
“He’s been playing for a long time, he’s always been a leader in our group, so we thought it was a good time to formally recognise that,” said Cummins.
There are no imminent plans for Cummins or 34-year-old Smith to stand down but the skipper said that “Steve is not going to play forever and I dare say I’m not going to captain forever.
“So we feel like we’ve got some responsibility to future-proof the team and give opportunities to other leaders.”
Pakistan have not won a Test series in the 12 times they have toured Australia.
New skipper Shan Masood is the latest to try and he named two debutants in their starting side, adding pacemen Aamer Jamal and Khurram Shahzad to an attack spearheaded by Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Former skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed was picked as first-choice wicketkeeper ahead of Mohammad Rizwan.
“As a team we talk about adaptability, whether we play in Canberra, whether we play in Karachi, whether we play in Perth, how quickly can guys adapt to different conditions,” said Masood.
“That’s what’s most important for me. Good cricketers are always adaptable.”
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (capt), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
Pakistan: Shan Masood (capt), Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Aamer Jamal, Khurram Shahzad.