Cricket-Australia stick with Ashes winners for West Indies series

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Ashes - Third Test - Australia v England - Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia - December 27, 2021 Australia's Marcus Harris in action during day 2 of the Third Test REUTERS/Loren Elliott

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia have stuck with the players that won the Ashes 4-0 last season for the upcoming home series against West Indies, naming a slimmed down 13-man squad on Tuesday for the two tests in late November and early December.

Spinner Mitchell Swepson along with pace duo Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson are the players who miss out after being part of the larger squad necessary for the Ashes series because of COVID-19 protocols.

Opener Marcus Harris returns to the squad after missing out on trips to Pakistan and Sri Lanka this year, while there is no place for Ashton Agar, Mitchell Marsh or Josh Inglis despite all three travelling on those tours.

"After some larger squads for the sub-continent tours over the winter, we have returned to a very similar squad to that which performed strongly last summer in comprehensively winning the Ashes," head selector George Bailey said.

"Marcus Harris retains his place after continuing to perform for Gloucestershire in the English county competition and a strong start to the Sheffield Shield season."

The first test against West Indies takes place in Perth from Nov. 30 with the second starting in Adelaide on Dec. 8. Australia also play three tests against South Africa in December and January.

The selectors also announced a strong squad for the one-day international series against England starting next week with opening batsman Travis Head replacing former skipper Aaron Finch, who retired from the format in September.

"Our focus is to continue to build a squad with an eye to next year's World Cup under Pat (Cummins) as the new ODI captain, so it's an important series," Bailey added.

"Travis Head returns in place of Aaron Finch, having played well in Pakistan and Sri Lanka earlier in the year. He has demonstrated flexibility in the types of roles he can play in our ODI line-up."

Australia play England in the 50-over format in Adelaide on Nov. 17 with further matches in Sydney and Melbourne rounding out the series.

Test squad: Pat Cummins (captain), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner

ODI squad: Pat Cummins (captain), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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