Steve Smith is now eligible for a leadership role again, and there are question marks surrounding a number of the others currently holding down a place in Justin Langer’s starting XI.
And with coronavirus halting all cricket for the foreseeable future, speculation as to who will be lining up for Australia in that opening Test against England at the Gabba in November 2021 is heating up.
Now some Aussie greats have given it their best shot.
Shane Warne, Allan Border and Mark Waugh – the latter two former Aussie selectors – have named their squads for the opening Test next year and there are some big shocks and surprises.
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SHANE WARNE (145 Tests, 708 wickets)
Warne revealed his all-time Australian Test side on Monday evening but has now given Fox Cricket his Ashes selection.
The Aussie legend dropped a bombshell in tipping Western Australia and Sydney Sixers wicketkeeper batsman Josh Phillipe to be facing down the likes of Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad in opening the batting alongside David Warner.
He is also backing Tim Paine to retain the captaincy despite Smith’s the leadership ban expiring this week.
Shane Warne’s XI: David Warner, Josh Phillipe, Marnus Labushagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine ©, James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood.
12th man: Nathan Lyon, although Riley Meredith is “knocking on the door”.
ALLAN BORDER (156 Tests, 11,174 runs)
Border also provided Fox Cricket with his selections for next year’s Ashes series and there was a lot for him to disagree with Warne over.
Border, a former Australian selector, paired Warner with Nic Maddinson, who has not donned the baggy green since the 2016/17 summer when he played three Tests, against South Africa and Pakistan.
Border also opted to drop Paine but rather than hand the captaincy to Smith, Travis Head is his selection to lead the team against the Poms. Alex Carey is his selection behind the wicket in Paine’s absence and is also named vice-captain.
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Allan Border’s XI: David Warner, Nic Maddinson, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head ©, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (vc), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
12th man: Lloyd Pope.
MARK WAUGH (128 Tests, 8,029 runs)
Waugh, another former Australia selector, went with a third different opening partnership, tipping Joe Burns to line up alongside Warner as an opener.
Like Border, Waugh opts to drop Paine but he reinstalls Smith as captain again, with Head having to settle for the vice captaincy on this occasion.
Other than that change, he too decided to bring in Carey as Paine’s replacement, with his XI only differing from Borders by one name – plus the 12th man.
Mark Waugh’s XI: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith ©, Travis Head (vc), Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
12th man: Jhye Richardson.