Rookies Harris, Tremain along with fit-again Khawaja included in Oz squad for India Tests
Melbourne, Nov 22 (PTI) Uncapped Victoria opener Marcus Harris and rookie speedster Chris Tremain have been named in the 14-member Australia squad for the first two Test matches against India starting December 6 in Adelaide.
The other good news was return of fit-again Usman Khawaja in the Tim Paine-led side. Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh will continue to be joint vice-captains in keeping with norm set by Cricket Australia after the ball tampering scandal in South Africa.
Khawaja has been included having successfully recuperated from surgery and will captain Queensland in their Shield clash against Victoria next week in what will be his first match back after undergoing knee surgery last month.
The four-day Shield fixture represents the left-hander's only hit-out before the first Test, but the 31-year-old was comfortably Australia's best batter in the UAE.
"We have been really impressed with the way Usman Khawaja has applied himself through his rehabilitation and he has left no stone unturned in his bid to return in Adelaide," said Hohns.
"Barring any setbacks, all the signs are indicating he will be available for the first Test."
Senior batsman Peter Handscomb also returned to the side on weight of domestic runs after missing the away series against Pakistan in UAE.
Among the rookies, Harris has been included in the squad on account of his superlative form in Sheffield Shield, where he has till date scored 437 runs at 87.50 this season.
His teammate Tremain is also among the five pace bowlers picked, having taken 24 wickets in this domestic season.
"Marcus Harris has forced his way into the squad after an impressive start to the Sheffield Shield campaign for Victoria, and in recent times has performed in high pressure matches, including Sheffield Shield finals," said chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns.
"Not only has he made plenty of runs, he has displayed the mental application we believe is required to compete at Test cricket."
On Tremain, Hohns said: "Chris Tremain has been performing consistently with the ball for Victoria," said Hohns.
"His form in the Sheffield Shield has seen him become the second highest wicket taker in the competition this season. He has also been a consistent wicket taker over the past two seasons, and thoroughly deserves his place in the squad.
Veteran Shaun Marsh struggled against Pakistan but has been in sublime touch since returning home with ODI and Shield centuries under his belt.
The bowling attack looks set to return to the Ashes-winning quartet of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.
The three NSW quicks will be rested from the Blues Shield match at Perth Stadium, suggesting Victoria duo Tremain and Peter Siddle are in the squad as cover.
Siddle is an incumbent fast bowler having played both Tests in the UAE, but that was with Cummins and Hazlewood on the comeback trail from back injuries.
Squad: Tim Paine (captain, wk), Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood (vc), Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh (vc), Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain, Peter Siddle