Australia coach Andrew McDonald is impressed with the batting performance of all-rounder Michael Neser in county cricket and believes the 33-year-old could be in the scheme of things if someone in the touring party for the World Test Championship final and Ashes gets injured.
The Australian bowling all-rounder has given a good account of himself with the bat for English county side Glamorgan, scoring 123, 86 and 90 so far.
Neser was left out of the initial 17-member Australian squad for the WTC final against India next month and the first two Ashes Tests, but his string of good scores has given coach McDonald an option should someone in the touring party gets injured.
The WTC final is scheduled at The Oval from June 7-11, while the five-match Ashes series commences on June 16.
“We’re well aware of what he (Neser) has got to offer,” McDonald told Sen Radio on Wednesday.
“Both Michael (Neser) and Sean (Abbott) will be joining us in London in the prep end of the World Test Championship final. We’ve got a clear squad mentality when we released that 17-man squad,” said McDonald.
All-rounder Abbott is currently playing for county side Surrey and could also be available if the Australian team management requires his services. “I think (chairman of selectors) George (Bailey) made it very clear that there are some checkpoints where we’ll be able to select others and bring others in, and if Josh (Hazlewood) wasn’t tracking well for the World Test Championship final, we’ve got Michael (Neser) and Sean (Abbott) over there ready to go and we feel it as a bonus that they’re over there playing cricket”, added McDonald.
Another Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has recently started to bowl again after undergoing surgery to treat his troublesome left ankle and the team management feels someone like Neser could offer cover behind Cameron Green.
“It (Neser’s county form) is very impressive. As I said, it’s not surprising though as we know what he can do. He had an outstanding Sheffield Shield last year, I think it was 40-odd wickets averaging less than 20,” McDonald said.
“The more impressive part is probably his batting in the back half of his career, he’s really pressing to be a genuine all-rounder in his own right.” The coach indicated that while Neser might not be able to find a batting slot in the top six, he certainly had a lot of utility at the back end of the lineup.
“He’s probably not a top six, batting all-rounder, but definitely a number seven or eight that can make handy runs, and he got 100 a couple of nights ago. We’re well aware of what he can do.
“As I said, we’ve got Michael and Sean over there and we feel as though they can be added in any time, depending on if any new information comes to us or shifts. We’ve got that flexibility with them being over there. I think we’ve got really good coverage in that 17-man squad plus the players that we’ve got there,” McDonald said.