Khawaja to lead CA XI against New Zealand

Canberra, Oct 20 (IANS) Top order batsman Usman Khawaja will lead Cricket Australia (CA) XI against the visiting New Zealand team in a two-day tour match at Manuka Oval here on Saturday and Sunday.

Shaun and brother Mitchell Marsh will take their place in the squad replacing the Hussey brothers Michael and David from the Prime Minister’s XI side, alongside Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns, Adam Voges and Peter Siddle. PM XI and New Zealand will play a one-day game, also at the same venue, on Friday.

Billy Stanlake will replace Mark Steketee while Sam Whiteman will take on wicketkeeping duties, replacing Ryan Carters.

Batsmen Bancroft, Burns and Khawaja are seen as leading contenders to fill the vacancies created by the retirement of opener Chris Rogers and ex-captain Michael Clarke.

“Similar to the Prime Minister’s XI squad, this two-day match will provide an opportunity for us to monitor a group of highly rated players ahead of the first Test at the Gabba,” national selector Rod Marsh said on Tuesday.

“Shaun, Mitch and Sam are all very talented players and we’re keen to see what they can produce against New Zealand. Billy Stanlake grabbed our attention when he made his debut in this year’s Matador Cup with an intimidating display against South Australia, taking 3/43 from nine overs.”

Cricket Australia XI squad: Usman Khawaja (captain), Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns, Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Sam Whiteman (wicketkeeper), Ashton Agar, Peter Siddle, Jason Behrendorff, Billy Stanlake, Ben Taylor (12th man).

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