• Warner faces dash to South Africa straight after T20 tri-series final

    David Warner’s preparations for the first Test in South Africa will be limited to less than a week should Australia make next month’s Twenty20 tri-series final after he was named as captain of the shortened-form team.

    The Test vice captain was the only player named in both squads, meaning he’ll contest the entire T20 series against England and New Zealand next month, the final of which is scheduled for February 21 just a day before a tour match against a South African invitational XI.

    Warner would fly out the day after the T20 final and likely land in South Africa during day two of the tour match ahead of the opening Test in Durban which begins on March 1.

    Selectors pulled two surprises in naming the 15-man Test squad on Monday, drafting in Victorian left-arm tweaker Jon Holland and 21-year-old West Australian quick Jhye Richardson.

    Ashton Agar had been expected to get the nod as Nathan Lyon’s deputy after he was recalled to the Ashes squad ahead of the SCG Test, but was instead chosen for T20 duty.

    Cameron Bancroft has retained his place after helping Australia to a 4-0 Ashes win in his first Test summer while Peter Handscomb will go to South Africa as what national selector Trevor Hohns described “spare batsman”.

    Handscomb began the summer in the Test team, but was replaced by Mitchell Marsh who scored two Ashes hundreds batting at number six.

    Warner’s late arrival is not expected to impact Australia’s preparations in South Africa.

    “With David we think any cricket is good for him and the preparation will be fine, we have no doubt,” Hohns said.

    Monday’s selections will have an effect on the rest of the domestic summer.

    Test players who compete in the Big Bash will be allowed to finish that competition. They can also play the first round of Shield matches next month, barring captain Steve Smith, and pace trio Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins who will all be rested.

    Those selected in the T20 squad will be unavailable for the Big Bash finals.

    Test bolter Richardson has a busy month ahead – he hopes to lift a Big Bash crown with the Perth Scorchers and play in his sixth career Shield match for Western Australia next month before flying over to South Africa.

    “He has impressed very much so in the early days of this Sheffield Shield season, he’s bowled very well, he’s got good pace, pretty good control we think,” Hohns said.

    “He’s certainly a player of the future, he offers a pretty good package too by the way, he’s a good fielder and he’s pretty handy with the bat.

    “We do see a good future for him particularly given he does seem to have that little bit extra pace which may well be required in South Africa.”

    Richardson played two T20s for Australia in February last year and made his ODI debut against England in Brisbane earlier this month, but admits he was shocked when told he would be on the plane to South Africa.

    “We got told to have our phones on and be ready and you always have that glimmer of hope in the back of your head but when the phone call comes your heart skips a beat,” Richardson said.

    “It’s dreams becoming reality especially from a young kid everyone always asks me, ‘got the ODI call up, sweet, but what’s the goal now?’ And It’s always been Test cricket and here we are now.

    “I haven’t really expected to play for Australia, just having the amount of experience I’ve had in Shield cricket, I’ve only played five games. But having said that I’m going in with full confidence.

    “I’m learning so quickly especially being around these guys, seeing how they go about their business and I’m certainly developing as a person and a player extremely quickly.”

    Test squad for South Africa

    Steve Smith (c) NSW David Warner (vc) NSW Cameron Bancroft WA Jackson Bird TAS Pat Cummins NSW Peter Handscomb VIC Josh Hazlewood NSW Jon Holland VIC Usman Khawaja QLD Nathan Lyon NSW Mitchell Marsh WA Shaun Marsh WA Tim Paine TAS Jhye Richardson WA Mitchell Starc NSW

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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