Not playing red-ball cricket won’t prevent selectors from picking white-ball stars for next round of Test

The clean ball form could yet provide the basis for inclusion in Test squads on the sub-continent for the likes of Mitch Marsh and Glenn Maxwell who have been locked into a format by cricket’s busy schedule.

That could include the upcoming Pakistan tour in March, which Jhye Richardson will miss so the fast bowler can “build up like he has to” after picking up an injury during the Ashes series.

Australia chairman George Bailey has named Marsh and Maxwell as two of a “handful” of players who have the “skills” to switch from one form of game to another more easily than others.

With tours to Sri Lanka and India also in 2022, sub-continent specialists like Maxwell, who played in the Indian Premier League last year and had his only Test century in India, could be on the cards.

Both Marsh and Maxwell missed all Sheffield Shield cricket before Christmas to be part of Australia’s T20 World Cup win, and are likely to miss more red ball games when the domestic season resumes amid duties ongoing national.

Bailey said the decision to leave Marsh out of a five-game T20 series against Sri Lanka next month was partly down to the potential for more opportunities beyond white-ball cricket and to “prepare for Pakistan”.

“There are a number of players, Glenn Maxwell, Mitch Marsh, Ash Agar, Mitch Swepson are a handful of guys off the top of my head who, just because of the nature of the lineup, have played a lot of one format and not much of the other,” Bailey said.

“But they’re still working hard on their game and the three formats are incredibly different, but there are skills that intersect, so if the opportunity arises, that certainly won’t stop us from choosing them.”

Marsh, who played his last Test at the 2019 Ashes, carried over his heroism at the T20 World Cup, where he was player of the match in the BBL final, scoring 342 runs in seven innings including one hundred.

Maxwell, one of only three Australians to have an international century in all three forms of play, beat the highest score in BBL history, 154 not knocked out, as one of two centuries among his 468 races for the Melbourne Stars this season.

Fast bowler Richardson has been selected for the next five-game T20 series against Sri Lanka, but will be rested for the three-Test tour to Pakistan, which begins in March.

The 25-year-old, who made his Test return during the Ashes and scored 5-42 in the second leg against England at the Adelaide Oval before a left foot and shin injury curtailed him prevents entry for the rest of the series.

He said talk of him playing for “the next 10 years” was behind the decision to pull him from the Pakistan tour.

“These conversations were always positive, there was never a negative word said no matter what,” Richardson said.

“It’s about making sure we’re in the best possible place to play for the next 10 years, and making sure the body is okay and 100% moving forward.

“It would be exciting to play Test cricket in the subcontinent, it’s a big challenge.

“But for me now the focus is definitely on the Sri Lankan series with another T20 World Cup coming up.”


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