Australia A to prepare for Ashes defence in New Zealand

Ben McKay |

Matthew Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Mitchell Swepson will head to New Zealand next month for two tour matches simulating Ashes conditions.

Cricket Australia have announced two four-day matches between Australia and New Zealand’s A sides at Lincoln, south of Christchurch.

The matches will be played with the Dukes ball, with conditions in the land of the long white cloud expected to come close to those the Australian Test side will face in England for their Ashes defence, beginning in June.

Chairman of selectors George Bailey said the short tour was designed with two upcoming Test series in mind.

“With an Ashes this winter and a tour of New Zealand early next year, this is a great opportunity for this group to perform in similar environments to those countries,” he said.

“The squad contains some experienced, strong performers in state cricket, along with several emerging players we believe have exciting futures ahead of them.

Handscomb, Renshaw and Swepson – all in India where Australia is attempting to square the Border-Gavaskar series – are the already capped members in a 14-man squad.

Bailey said nine of the squad are under the age of 26, with selectors not considering players with upcoming deals in English county cricket.

Cricket Australia also announced Brisbane will host a trans-Tasman ‘A series’ later this year.

AUSTRALIA A: Wes Agar, Xavier Bartlett, Aaron Hardie, Peter Handscomb,  Spencer Johnson, Campbell Kellaway, Nathan McSweeney, Joel Paris, Mitch Perry, Jimmy Pierson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Tim Ward, Teague Wyllie.