Pat Cummins in doubt for second Test; Lance Morris and Michael Neser drafted in Australia squad
Adelaide : Australia Test skipper and pace spearhead Pat Cummins is in doubt for the second Test against the West Indies beginning at Adelaide on December 8 with the team management quickly providing cover by including uncapped quick Lance Morris and veteran fast bowler Michael Neser.
Cummins suffered quadricep soreness during the first innings of the opening Test at Perth and failed to bowl during the West Indies’ second innings as Australia clinched a 164-run victory, with Steve Smith doing captaincy duties.
The right-armer is hopeful he will be fit to feature in the second Test that commences on Thursday, but the selectors have flown Morris and Neser into Adelaide in case the Australia captain is ruled out.
Morris is yet to win a Test cap for Australia, but the 24-year-old has more wickets than any other bowler in Australia’s domestic Sheffield Shield competition this year and has regularly clocked speeds in excess of 150km/h, according to ICC.
Neser, meanwhile, played his solitary Test for Australia last year against England in Adelaide and has been one of the most consistent performers at domestic level for more than a decade. While Scott Boland is already in Australia’s squad and would be the logical choice to replace Cummins should the captain miss the second Test, the inclusion of Morris and Neser provides selectors with further pace options should the conditions suit.
Australia selection chair George Bailey said both players deserved their selection in the squad. “Michael (Neser) has been with the squad on a regular basis in past seasons and was simply outstanding in Adelaide last summer,” Bailey said.
“He has continued to perform incredibly consistently since and will be warmly welcomed back. “Lance is another of the outstanding young fast bowlers coming through the ranks. He has genuine pace and his ability to create opportunities for wickets is a real drawcard.
“It will be great experience for him to come into the environment.” The Test in Adelaide will be pivotal for Australia as they attempt to qualify for their first ICC World Test Championship final at The Oval next year.
Cummins’ side currently sits on top of the World Test Championship standings, but have difficult Test matches during the run home against South Africa (home) and India (away).