Australia add Steve Smith to Ashes first test squad

(Reuters) – Australia have added batsman Steve Smith to their Ashes squad for the warm-up games and the first test following David Warner’s suspension and Michael Clarke’s back injury.

Captain Clarke missed all three of Australia’s Champions Trophy games but hopes to be fit for the five-match series, while Warner is banned until the first test starts at Trent Bridge on July 10 after punching England’s Joe Root in a bar.

“The National Selection Panel advises that Steve Smith has been added to the Australian Ashes squad until the beginning of the second test when it will be reviewed,” National Selector John Inverarity said in a statement on Sunday.

“Given David Warner is unavailable for the upcoming tour games against Somerset and Worcestershire and while Michael Clarke continues to make good progress from a back injury, we feel further batting cover is required.”

Smith is not the only player with outside hopes of grabbing a starting Ashes berth for Australia having not been in the original squad.

Selectors continue to monitor spinners Aston Agar and Fawad Ahmed, a Pakistan-born refugee whose Ashes dreams were boosted by the Australian Senate passing legislation to fast-track citizenship in special cases.

“Ashton Agar is to accompany the Ashes squad until the beginning of the second test as a development player,” Inverarity added. “Fawad Ahmed will return to Australia tomorrow (Monday) while he goes through the processes required of him to become an Australian citizen and remains a player of interest to the National Selection Panel.”

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