Tuesday, July 25, 2017
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Tahs Swing For The SkiesBird FlyAUSTRALIAN Test selectors have finally displayed some common sense, recalling Jackson Bird to the national setup ahead of the New Zealand tour next month.

In the end, the claims of the 29-year-old could not be ignored, with his ability to swing the ball on seaming wickets getting him the nod to potentially play across the Tasman in two Tests.

After being overlooked for the recent West Indies series, the Wakehurst Redbacks junior privately feared his Test career was over after making his debut in 2012 at the MCG.

But with a host of quicks unavailable, namely the retired Mitchell Johnson and injured spearhead Mitchell Starc, Bird has the chance to add to his three baggy green caps, where he snared 13 wickets against Sri Lanka and England.

He has also impressed in the Sheffield Shield, taking 22 wickets in five games for Tasmania with an average of 24.

A shortened run-up to the crease by 10 metres has seen Bird bowl increased overs.

This is evidenced by the 196 overs he has sent down in Shield cricket – easily the most by any player in the competition.

“We are delighted to welcome Chadd Sayers into the squad for the first time and his inclusion is thoroughly deserved,” national selector Rod Marsh said yesterday.

“Both he and Jackson Bird can swing the ball and operate at a lively pace and we believe both will be well suited to the conditions we are likely to encounter.”

Despite impressing in the Sydney Test with his leftarm orthodox spin, Manly all-rounder Steve O’Keefe drops out of the 14-man squad, with Nathan Lyon the sole spin option.

The first Test is in Wellington on February 12.

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