Greg Chappell, Australia's selector and national talent manager, has said Nathan Lyon and Trent Copeland were among those that showed they could perform at a higher level during the A side's tour of Zimbabwe. Fast bowler Copeland and offspinner Lyon - who was the leading wicket-taker in the tri-series in Zimbabwe that also included South Africa A - have since been picked in Australia's Test squad for the Sri Lanka series that begins on August 31.
"They are very exciting cricketers," Chappell told Australia's Sunday Telegraph. "The Australia A tour to Zimbabwe was a huge success. Those guys were two of a number who showed that what has worked for them in Australia can work at a higher level. They bring with them some form and confidence and freshness."
The fast bowlers who missed out on Sri Lanka, Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus, need to work on their fitness, Chappell said. "The message to both of them is quite clear. Doug's fitness levels were not where they are needed to be. He knows what he has to do. The same with Ben. He struggled technically last summer [during the Ashes]."
A big talking point about the Test squad was the omission of legspinner Steven Smith, but according to Chappell, this is all part of his maturing process. "He is in the same position that most players are in early in their careers when they get an opportunity. They get to have a look at it. Very few players are ready to go.
"Most of us have been dropped. Even Bradman was dropped. You go away and rethink it. That's where Steve's at. I think he has the ability to be a very fine player for Australia, but this is only part of his development."
Australia are yet to find a long-term replacement for Shane Warne, and if spinners are to do well, Chappell said, the environment in which they are nurtured has to change. "The environment in which young spinners are growing up is very different from before. I just don't see them getting the encouragement from captains and coaches, who see them as bowlers who leak runs rather than one who have the opportunities to take wickets."
"They are a last resort option in junior cricket, club and first-class cricket at times. If we are going to produce champions [in the spin department], we have to encourage environments where spinners get the opportunities."
Australia tour of Sri Lanka
Australia A tour of Zimbabwe