The Ashes 2013-14

Ferguson to face England again in tour match

Brydon Coverdale

November 11, 2013

Comments: 21 | Text size: A | A

Callum Ferguson celebrates his century, South Australia v Queensland, Sheffield Shield, Adelaide, 2nd day, October 24, 2012
The selectors are keen to see more of Callum Ferguson against England © Getty Images

Callum Ferguson, Aaron Finch, Adam Voges and Steve O'Keefe are among the players who will face England in a four-day match in Sydney this week as part of a Cricket Australia Invitational XI. As they did for the Australia A squad that played in Hobart last week, the selectors have picked a strong batting line-up featuring several players who could come into international contention soon, but a weakened bowling attack.

Ferguson is the only member of that Australia A side who will play in this week's match, as the severely rain-affected game in Hobart allowed him only 23 balls at the crease for an unbeaten 15. Phillip Hughes was originally meant to be part of the Cricket Australia Invitational XI but instead has been released to play for South Australia, to make way for his state team-mate Ferguson to have some more time in the middle against England.

Usman Khawaja, who the selectors had also intended to play against England in Sydney this week, has also been released to play for Queensland, due to their growing injury list. Khawaja will play for the Bulls against New South Wales in Brisbane, while Hughes will play for the Redbacks in Adelaide against Western Australia, in a round of Shield matches that begin on Wednesday, the same day as the England tour game.

"In selecting the final XI, we have tried to be flexible given the needs of particular states and individual players following the latest round of first-class matches across the country," Cricket Australia's general manager of team performance, Pat Howard, said. "We recognise the injury situation in Queensland, so it is appropriate to release Usman Khawaja from this tour match to support his state.

"We have also taken the view that due to the rain-affected match in Hobart, Callum Ferguson didn't get the depth of international exposure we hoped to give him through his Australia A selection. Through consultation with the SACA, we felt it made sense to select him in the next tour match against England. In light of Callum's selection, Phil Hughes, who has played a lot of international cricket in recent months will remain with South Australia for its next Shield match."

The invitational side will be captained by the New South Wales wicketkeeper Peter Nevill and will feature mostly New South Wales players, with only Voges, Ferguson, Finch and Ed Cowan coming from interstate sides. Although none of the batsmen are expected to be in contention for the first Ashes Test, they are all close enough to the fringes to hope that a big score against England might help them move closer to a call-up.

Ben Rohrer and Ryan Carters round out the batting line-up, while the bowling attack will be made up of O'Keefe and fringe Blues fast men Josh Lalor, Chris Tremain and Nic Bills. Geoff Lawson will coach the side for the four-day encounter at the SCG, which is England's last practice match before the first Test begins at the Gabba on November 21.

Cricket Australia Invitational XI Ed Cowan, Aaron Finch, Callum Ferguson, Adam Voges, Ben Rohrer, Ryan Carters, Peter Nevill (capt, wk), Steve O'Keefe, Josh Lalor, Chris Tremain, Nic Bills.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by CantFindMyScreenName on (November 12, 2013, 2:11 GMT)

I agree it seems crazy to put poor bowlers out. Why not create some green spicy decks, and send guys out to try and knock their heads off?

Far better to have guys going into a Test with no runs and a few clonks on the helmet, then a comfortable unbeaten 150.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 12, 2013, 2:06 GMT)

Unfortunately it looks like this game may well be rain-affected as well. I think that England might be hoping to win the toss and bat, giving themselves a day to give some time in the middle to a few who have missed out so far. They should then probably declare and give themselves hopefully at least a day to bowl. We may not see much more play than that.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (November 11, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

Can't wait to see SOK play. I have heard he is very very very good. One of the best SLA bowlers that has played the game.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 15:36 GMT)

The Good thing about Finch Playing is that if he gets his eye in he could really dent the confidence of the English bowlers who have already had a bitter taste of his abilities in the T20's and one dayers.

Posted by inefekt on (November 11, 2013, 11:57 GMT)

I really hope O'Keefe takes a bagful to remind the selectors what a bunch of dopes they've been in continuing to overlook him for test duties in favour of fellow spinners who don't even have half the record he does. Granted he hasn't even taken 100 wickets at first class level but he's taken his 90 odd at just 25 with a very decent economy rate............which is much better than the records of those that have come before him prior to their test debuts.

Posted by Beertjie on (November 11, 2013, 10:42 GMT)

Give them a net, I say. No disrespect to NSW pacers but better provide Sydney Grade Cricket bowlers than anyone with any chance to play this Ashes. With all the injured quicks we have who knows who qualifies as a 2nd rate quick these days? Slow pitches and weak bowlers is the way to go given that the Gabba is first up. No need to worry about playing the Poms into "form". With Ryano, Mitch and Sidds up front (remember his hat- trick from 3 years ago), they'll be underdone and ready for the taking. Come on Mitch, give us a Thommo impersonation.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 7:52 GMT)

Mitty2, surprised you haven't heard of Bills and Lalor. Bills is a quick from the North Sydney Bears club who has played Shield cricket but is just a bit too far back in the NSW queue. Lalor is Pat Cummins' opening partner for the Penrith Panthers who has bowled impressively when given the chance for NSW and the Perth Scorthers BBL team. Both good players as is Chris Tremain who has been UNSW's huge strike force for a while now in Sydney Grade Cricket.

Posted by Big-Dog on (November 11, 2013, 6:41 GMT)

Can't imagine why Finch is in this side. He is just a T20 slogger who can't even hold down a regular place in the Victorian side. His form in the long form game is pathetic.

Posted by PrasPunter on (November 11, 2013, 5:14 GMT)

Not a big fan of Voges. He tends to get bogged down and couldn't break open. I would like to see Nic Maddy given more chances to play red-ball. A very nice prospect !!

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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