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Selection chairman urges patience with new-look Aussie team

Associated Press Associated Press 21/11/2016

SYDNEY — Australia's chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns has called on the country's cricket fans to show patience with the new-look team named on Sunday for the third test South Africa.

As many as four players could make their test debuts in the day-night test at the Adelaide Oval — the most in any Australian test side since 1978. Five players have been dropped from the team which lost the second test and the series against South Africa in Hobart as the selectors took drastic action to arrest a run of five straight test defeats.

Hohns said the selection of uncapped batsmen Matt Renshaw, 20, Nic Maddinson, 24, and Peter Handscomb, 25, and fast bowler Chadd Sayers marked the beginning of a new era for Australian cricket.

But he cautioned any transformation of Australia's team could take time.

Hohns was appointed chairman on an interim basis after the resignation last Wednesday of former selection chief Rod Marsh.

Former test captain Greg Chappell was also appointed to the panel which Hohns said had the support of Cricket Australia officials "to revamp our team taking into account form, ability and/or potential to perform at test level.

"We see this is a very exciting challenge for everybody concerned," Hohns said. "I'm not for one minute going to suggest an immediate turnaround. Patience will be required. But we are obviously hopeful that these players can gel together and stop the downward losing momentum we are currently experiencing."

English-born Renshaw is expected to open the batting in Adelaide with David Warner while Maddinson and Handscomb are likely to take places in the middle order. Sayers will compete with Jackson Bird to replace Joe Mennie who was dropped along with Joe Burns, Callum Ferguson and Peter Nevill. Batsman Adam Voges was ruled out of the third test because of concussion.

Hohns indicated the selectors were likely to give the newcomers time to find their feet in test cricket.

"What we would like to see now is a better performance," he said. "And if this group can give us a better performance, that will hold them in good stead going forward."

Handscomb earned his test call-up after making 215 for Victoria against New South Wales in the most recent round of the domestic Sheffield Shield competition.

"It was nice timing,'" Handscomb said of his eight-hour innings. "A lot of people have messaged me saying timing is everything.

Maddinson, an attacking left-handed batsman, has played two Twenty20 internationals but has struggled to achieve the consistency necessary to win a test debut.

"I probably haven't been as consistent as I would have liked over he past couple of years in the four-day format," Maddinson said. "But that's the area I've probably worked hard at compared to some of the others."

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