Cricket news; Rising star Spencer Johnson to play for Australia A

The rapid rise of Spencer Johnson has continued, with the young fast bowler selected for an Australia A squad set for a pre-Ashes tune-up in New Zealand.

After making a stunning Big Bash League entry and back-to-back five-wicket hauls for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield, left-armer Johnson and Victorian young gun Mitch Perry are among a youth-filled squad set to use Dukes balls in two four-day games against the New Zealand A team.

As preparation for their likely trip to England for the Ashes, Test batters Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw, both currently in India, will also be part of the squad.

Leg-spinner Mitch Swepson, who didn’t get a game during the four Test series on the sub-continent, will also play as part of a group of which nine of the 14 players are aged under 26.

Johnson has been in blistering form, taking 15 wickets at 13.06 in the first two Shield appearances of his injury-interrupted career this season, while Perry has claimed 19 wickets from his past three matches.

“The squad contains some experienced, strong performers in state cricket, along with several emerging players we believe have exciting futures ahead of them,” national selection chief George Bailey said.

“We are committed to the continued expansion of the Australia A program and these games are specifically designed to expose these players to conditions they may not experience in Australia.

“With an Ashes this winter and a tour of New Zealand early next year, this is a great opportunity for this group to perform in similar environments to those countries.”

The squad will play New Zealand A in Lincoln with the Dukes ball and in conditions designed to replicate those found in England.

Veteran Queensland keeper Jimmy Pierson is also in the squad, with 20-year-old Victorian batter Campbell Kellaway at the other end of the age spectrum, along with West Australian young gun teague Wylie.

A number of other players set to be in contention for the Ashes, including opening batter Marcus Harris and swing specialist Michael Neser, weren’t picked, as they have already booked UK county cricket stints to hone their skills and will therefore gain significant exposure to English conditions.

Test stars Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith have also signed for county appearances.

Australia A squad: Wes Agar, Xavier Bartlett, Aaron Hardie, Peter Handscomb, Spencer Johnson, Campbell Kellaway, Nathan McSweeney, Joel Paris, Mitch Perry, Jimmy Pierson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Tim Ward, Teague Wyllie.

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