All-rounder Glenn Maxwell has been picked to make his Test debut with left-arm quick Mitchell Starc dropped as part of Australia’s plan to deploy two spinners in the second Test against India.
But the second tweaker is surprisingly not Nathan Lyon, with Australia selectors taking another gamble by naming left-arm finger-spinner Xavier Doherty in his place.
The selection of Doherty at the expense of Lyon comes as a shock given the left-armer is averaging 44.56 in the first-class cricket, 80 at Shield level this summer and 102 in the Test arena.
The selectors were considering keeping the same XI, but a final inspection of the Hyderabad wicket has convinced the panel change must be instituted after the eight-wicket defeat in Chennai.
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Intriguingly, it appears Michael Clarke, also a selector, may have been rolled at the selection table given the skipper is a strident supporter of both Starc and Lyon and is likely to have pushed hard for the latter.
Clarke had spoken 24 hours earlier about Lyon receiving advice from leg-spin legend Shane Warne to bolster his confidence ahead of the second Test.
Regardless, the certainty is Starc will not play.
As revealed on Wednesday, the tall left-armer was in the firing line after struggling to find the right length from 25 wicketless overs that leaked 75 runs in Chennai.
That opens the door for Maxwell, who is expected to be crowned as Australia’s 433rd Test cricketer at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.
The blooding of Maxwell caps a rapid rise for the 24-year-old Victorian, who has played just 15 first-class matches since his debut against New South Wales in February 2011.
It is the second consecutive Test in this series that a debutant has been born, with Moises Henriques celebrating his baggy-green baptism in Chennai last week.
Confirmed Australia XI for second Test
David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (c), Matthew Wade, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Xavier Doherty.