Test hopeful Marcus Harris will get an early look at the touring West Indies after being picked in a strong Prime Minister’s XI side to play a four-day match in Canberra a day after being returned to the Australian squad.

His Victorian captain Peter Handscomb has also been picked and gets to push his claims on the back of a stunning start to the domestic season along with young spinner Todd Murphy in a signal of who national selectors see as next in line for the Australian team.

Josh Inglis, who was forced out of Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign after badly cutting his hand playing golf, will captain the team that includes five players who have already played Test cricket.

Both South Australian opener Henry Hunt, and Queensland fast bowler Mark Steketee, who took six wickets in an innings against WA in a Sheffield Shield game last week, get another chance to impress selectors having played for Australia A in Sri Lanka in June and July.

Handscomb (518) and Harris (287) are the top two run scorers in the Sheffield Shield this season.

Handscomb, who played the most recent of his 16 Tests in 2019, made back-to-back hundreds to start the season, including an epic unbeaten 281 not out, and was on his way to a third when he was bowled for 95 in bad light in Hobart last weekend.

National selection chief George Bailey said Handscomb “absolutely remains on our radar’’.

‘‘He was selected on the Australia A trip to Sri Lanka early in the winter and had a baby at the same time so clearly made the right decision there, and he’s coming back and started the season fantastically,” he said.

Former Test opener Matthew Renshaw, fresh off a double-century for Queensland having returned to the top of the order, also gets to play the Windies, with opportunities potentially this summer and then on a tour of India early next year up for grabs.

“It’s a very strong squad for this match consisting of our leading first-class performers and, for many of the players, offers further exposure to an international side after touring Sri Lanka earlier this year,” Bailey said.

“It’s an exciting game for them to continue the traditions of the Prime Minister’s XI, which is a great honour for any cricketer. It will be a historic contest also considering the very first Prime Minister’s XI match was against the West Indies 70 years ago.”

Queensland quicks Steketee and Michael Neser, who has played one Test, have taken a combined 32 wickets for the Bulls in three games.

Young off-spinner Murphy rocketed into Test contention in Sri Lanka, where he also played with Australia A, and looms, with Ashton Agar, as next in line to replace Nathan Lyon, who was the lone spinner picked in the Test squad for the two matches against the West Indies.

The four-day, day/night fixture against the West Indies begins on Wednesday, November 23. at Manuka Oval.

Prime Minister‘s XI squad: Josh Inglis (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Henry Hunt, Todd Murphy, Michael Neser, Matt Renshaw, Mark Steketee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *