Australia set to name Head and Starc in 1st Ashes test

December 5, 2021 GMT
England captain Joe Root, left, and Australian captain Pat Cummins pose with the Ashes trophy at the Gabba cricket ground ahead of the first Ashes cricket test in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
England captain Joe Root, left, and Australian captain Pat Cummins pose with the Ashes trophy at the Gabba cricket ground ahead of the first Ashes cricket test in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
England captain Joe Root, left, and Australian captain Pat Cummins pose with the Ashes trophy at the Gabba cricket ground ahead of the first Ashes cricket test in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
1 of 5
England captain Joe Root, left, and Australian captain Pat Cummins pose with the Ashes trophy at the Gabba cricket ground ahead of the first Ashes cricket test in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
1 of 5
England captain Joe Root, left, and Australian captain Pat Cummins pose with the Ashes trophy at the Gabba cricket ground ahead of the first Ashes cricket test in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — New Australia captain Pat Cummins has confirmed batsman Travis Head and fast bowler Mitchell Starc will play in the first Ashes cricket test.

Cummins said that Head is set to be picked ahead of Usman Khawaja in this week’s first Ashes Test at the Gabba, while the early call on left-arm quick Mitchell Starc, as a new ball bowler, means the hosts have now settled on a line-up well ahead of Wednesday’s toss.

“It was a tight one, the selectors make the call, but both are really good options, with really strong form,” said Cummins at a pre-Series media event with both team captains on Sunday. “Experience is great from Uzzie (Khawaja) and we’re really lucky to have that in the squad.”

“But Trav’s been playing a lot for us the last couple of years, churned out runs in England and Australia and is ready to go.”

Cummins said he was leaning towards allowing Starc - who held his place in Australia’s bowling quartet ahead of Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser - to join Josh Hazelwood as the new ball pairing in Brisbane.

ADVERTISEMENT

“No (I haven’t decided) is the honest answer; I probably won’t (open) first-up, but we’ve been quite fluid in recent years, pending the situation,” Cummins said. “Maybe (I will if it’s) late in the day and with only a couple of overs to bowl and I feel I want to have a crack.”

“Starcy’s great .. we knew we had three weeks building up and he’s been building up nicely, he was fast (in training on Saturday), swinging the ball big,” Cummins said.

Head had lost his place in the side to Matthew Wade but he was recalled for the tour of South Africa that was subsequently called off due to COVID-19.

England captain Joe Root was less forthcoming about England’s lineup as it attempts to win its first series in Australia since 2011. Root admitted he is yet to settle on his side and whether he would select an all-out pace attack at the pace-friendly Gabba and leave out spinner Jack Leach.

—-

More AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports