"Ashton has continued to impress us with his form," says national selector Trevor Hohns
“Ashton has continued to impress us with his form,” says national selector Trevor Hohns Getty Images

Australia announced 13-man squad for two-Test tour to Bangladesh in August. Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc has been rested citing fitness issues. He had sustained an injury during Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2016-17, eventually pulling out of IPL 10 to remain fit for ICC Champions Trophy 2017. However, Starc has not completely recovered from the fractured foot and has been ordered rest for the same to be in the best of his health for the Ashes campaign later this year. On the other hand, Steve O’Keefe, who had taken as many wickets as Nathan Lyon against India, has been dropped. Australia named Ashton Agar as his replacement. He will partner Lyon in the spin department. Ponting: Smith has done terrific job captaining Australian team

“Whilst Steve O’Keefe bowled well in Pune, he did not maintain this level in the remaining matches of the series and we believe the timing is right for Ashton to enter the set-up and test his all-rounder ability. Ashton has continued to impress us with his form and we believe his bowling is at a level where he deserves to be playing on the highest stage. He will work nicely in tandem with Nathan Lyon and also brings a great all-round package to the team,” national selector Trevor Hohns told cricket.com.au.

In addition, Shaun Marsh did not find a place either, while Usman Khawaja was retained despite being benched throughout India tour. However, Australia gave a nod to the 25-year-old Hilton Cartwright. “Hilton averages nearly 60 runs in first-class cricket and was the second highest run scorer in the Sheffield Shield last season with 861 runs. He is a quality player who we believe has a big future for Australia and we are very keen to see him carry on his good form into subcontinent,” Hohns added.

Hohns also explained all-rounder Mitchell Marsh’s exclusion. “Mitchell was due to go for follow up scans after the Champions Trophy, as part of his recovery plan. These scans have indicated his previous stress fracture has still not fully healed to the extent we would like. He will now undertake a period of rest from bowling with the aim to have him return for the one-day series in India in late September as he begins his build up to the Ashes.”

Australia had cancelled Australia’s last tour to Bangladesh due to security concerns. “The Bangladesh Cricket Board and the Bangladesh Government have provided satisfactory levels of assurance and security for this tour to proceed at this stage, and we re very grateful to them for this. We will continue to work with them to finalise plans but also monitor advice from Government agencies and our own security advisors about the security risk. Our number one priority will always be the safety and security of our players and support staff when travelling to any country. Players selected for this tour will continue to receive regular security status updates prior to travelling,” said Executive General Manager of Team Performance, Pat Howard.