Ashes 2017/18: 5 players who missed out on Australia's squad
Hosting an English line-up devoid of Ben Stokes, Australia were considered the clear favourites to win this year's Ashes until the selectors named a rather outrageous Test squad. There could possibly be six changes to the final XI that walk out at the Gabba from the one that played the last Test in Bangladesh.
The reactions to the squad named (rather, leaked) were hilarious, to say the least. The most talked about aspect before the series was Australia's no.6, no.7 and opening slots. In each of these positions, the Aussies chose to baffle, presenting Shaun Marsh with his eighth return to the Test squad and recalling Tim Paine as the keeper (he last played seven years ago and last scored a hundred in First-class cricket before Darren Lehmann the coach did).
"It took us quite a while because there were several contenders for several positions," said Australia national selector Trevor Hohns.
Squad named: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers.
On that note, here are five players who should have made the cut:
#5 Peter Nevill
It was a surprise that Australia decided to drop Peter Nevill in the first place. An extremely good wicket-keeper, Nevill though did not have enough runs to stake his claim although the incumbent, Matthew Wade, was himself short on runs. Steven Smith had urged Nevill to be more vocal behind the stumps a couple of weeks back and that lack of "Australian" aggression seems to have sidelined him.
But Wade wasn't the one eventually selected as the Aussies opted for Tim Paine's glovework and batting talent. However, this decision received a lot of flak since the Australian hasn't scored a hundred in first-class cricket since 2006. Nevill, meanwhile, had played a couple of gritty knocks before being dumped and is arguably the best keeper in the country.