Form puts Sheffield Shield stars to the Test
AUSTRALIA'S selectors have opted for pure domestic form ahead of youthful exuberance, in naming their back-up players for upcoming tours of the West Indies and the Ashes in England.
Reserve wicketkeeper, New South Wales' Peter Nevill, is 29, Victorian leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed is 33 and West Australian batsman Adam Voges is 35.
Going on Sheffield Shield statistics, all three deserve their spots in the 17-man squad, with the first Test in the West Indies starting on June 5 and the first Ashes opener starting July 12.
Nevill edged out Victoria's Matthew Wade, 27, as the leading run-scorer among keeper-batsmen in this season's Shield, with 764 runs at an average of 76.40. Wade scored 572 at 57.20.
Ahmed, who took the most Shield wickets this season (48), fled Pakistan in 2010 as he was a target of the Taliban for promoting and coaching a "western" sport.
Voges made his first-class debut in 2002-03, and has only been used in 31 one-day internationals, despite averaging 45.78. He scored the most Shield runs this summer, with 1358 at 104.46.
"Adam Voges and Fawad Ahmed had sensational seasons at domestic level and their performances just couldn't be ignored," chief selector Rod Marsh said.
"Peter Nevill has been on our radar for some time and deserves his opportunity through weight of runs and performances behind the stumps."
Despite playing the last two Tests against India, Queensland's Joe Burns missed out with selectors preferring Voges and his WA teammate Shaun Marsh as middle-order options, while World Cup heroes James Faulkner and Glenn Maxwell were also overlooked.
Australia's squad: Michael Clarke (capt), Steve Smith (vice-capt), Fawad Ahmed, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris (Ashes only), Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter Nevill, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges, David Warner, Shane Watson.