McGain and Krejza get Australia A call-up
Bryce McGain, Victoria's 36-year-old legspinner, is one of three slow bowlers who will be trialled on the subcontinent before the selectors name the squad for October's Test tour to India. Jason Krejza, the Tasmania offspinner, and Australia's newest Test player, Beau Casson, are the other two spinners who will be aiming to shine on an Australia A trip to India early next month.
Simon Katich will captain the 14-man group for two three-day matches against India A in Bangalore and Hyderabad from September 3 to 11. The squad for the four-Test series will be named soon after and the spin positions will be the most hotly-contested following Stuart MacGill's retirement in the Caribbean.
Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said Casson, Krejza and McGain "are considered exciting prospects". The fast bowling will be shared between Doug Bollinger and Ashley Noffke, both of whom were in Australia's Test squad in the West Indies, as well as the Queensland player Ryan Harris and Victoria's young but injury-prone bowler Peter Siddle.
"[We] took into account the great opportunity [the series] provided for some of our Test players who have had a reasonably lengthy break to gain match practice and also acclimatise to Indian conditions," Hilditch said. "With an eye for the future Australia have also picked several of our best emerging batting talent."
With the exception of Katich, the batting group does have a more youthful look than the bowling line-up. It includes the New South Wales opener Phillip Hughes, 19, who averaged 62.11 last summer in first season of first-class cricket and made a century in the Pura Cup final victory.
His Blues team-mate Peter Forrest also made the cut following after strong performances in an emerging players tournament this year. Adam Voges was named vice-captain for the three-day games, which will be followed by a one-day tournament involving New Zealand A and India A. The squad for the one-day section has not yet been named. The team will be coached by Simon Helmot, who heads Victoria's High Performance Academy.
Australia A squad Simon Katich (capt), Phillip Hughes, Adam Voges, Marcus North, George Bailey, Peter Forrest, Luke Ronchi (wk), Ashley Noffke, Beau Casson, Ryan Harris, Jason Krejza, Peter Siddle, Bryce McGain, Doug Bollinger.