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Inexperienced Test line-up excites Lehmann

The prospect of picking Australia’s least experienced team since the World Series Cricket split is one which excites coach Darren Lehmann.

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The 15-man squad Lehmann takes to Bangladesh for a two-Test series next month will be bereft of experience following a raft of retirements, untimely injuries and the likely resting of two key fast bowlers.

An astonishing seven changes are likely from the opening Ashes Test in Cardiff, with four – Michael Clarke, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin – now retired, as well as paceman Ryan Harris who pulled the pin before a ball before the series started.

Lehmann confirmed two more, quicks Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood, were candidates to be rested from the tour.

The seventh, opener and vice-captain David Warner, is considered long odds to feature and himself admits he’s “highly unlikely” due to a broken thumb which will prevent him from picking up a bat for another five-and-a-half weeks.

Only spinner Nathan Lyon (46) and Steve Smith, a veteran of 33 Tests who is set to embark on his debut series as captain, the only players with any significant experience in the likely first XI.

Should veteran paceman Peter Siddle (57 Tests) be omitted, as he was for much of the Ashes before a match-winning recall at The Oval, Australia will almost certainly field their least experienced side since 1978-9 – when it was ravaged by WSC.

A bullish Lehmann remains excited, rather than concerned, about that prospect.

“I think everyone is excited about where it’s going and how it could end up. I think it’s great,” he said.

“We’ve had a really experienced group over a period of time. That’s gone.

“It’s a challenge for the Australian cricket team to regenerate, to get some young kids in there and away they go.”

The mass exodus may not even be enough to save veteran middle-order batsman Adam Voges, who at 35 has played just seven Tests but has a wealth of first-class experience.

Voges scored an impressive century on debut against the West Indies in June, but struggled when the Ashes were on the line before coming good with consecutive half-centuries when the series was already lost.

With such a high turnover of batsmen, it would appear Voges’ spot is safe for the time being – but Lehmann refused to make any promises.

“We’ll have to sit down and work out whether (Voges’ experience is) a plus, or we’re going for youth and away we go,” he said.

“Whoever we pick, you always like to have a couple of experienced guys in there, I would think, so it’s probably a plus for him.

“But … the selection table will tell us that.”

Lehmann also addressed reports that Hazlewood and Johnson, both of whom have been rested for the limited-overs component of the three-month tour, would miss the Bangladesh Tests.

“We sent them home because of their workloads and a few niggles, so we’ll get a medical report in the next couple of days and make a decision on those guys,” he said.

Potential squad: Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill, Steve O’Keefe, Gurinder Sandhu, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges.

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