Australia coach Justin Langer hopes Aaron Finch will become the country’s next late-Test bloomer after selecting him for the series against Pakistan.
Finch was among five potential debutants selected in the 15-man squad for the two-Test series in the United Arab Emirates next month.
Raw paceman Brendan Doggett, Redbacks skipper Travis Head and South African-born duo Marnus Labuschagne and Michael Neser were the other new additions.
But Langer also found room for a blast from the past, with veteran Victorian paceman Peter Siddle selected in the absence of injured duo Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.
Finch has played 93 ODIs and 42 T20s for Australia but it seemed as if he would be forever pigeonholed as a white-ball specialist.
But with batsmen Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft serving their lengthy bans for ball-tampering, Finch has been given the perfect chance to prove his worth in the Test arena.
Mike Hussey was 30 before finally earning a baggy green and he went on to carve out a glorious 79-Test career.
Langer hopes Finch, who will turn 32 in November, can follow suit.
“I’m really thrilled for Aaron Finch,” Langer said.
“Albeit in white-ball cricket, he’s probably as in-form a player as there is in the world at the moment.
“What I love about Aaron Finch is he scores hundreds. In Test cricket that’s very important. He’s also in career-best shape.
“I know he’s waited a long time for it.
“Hopefully like a Mike Hussey, or a Brad Hodge, or a George Bailey or a Chris Rogers, he can have an impact on Test cricket as well as white-ball cricket.”
Finch is likely to open the batting, with Langer nominating Matt Renshaw and Usman Khawaja as other options.
Siddle’s last Test was in 2016 but his hot form for county side Essex convinced Langer to select the 33-year-old.
Langer said Siddle was a strong chance to play given his workhorse record and experience in the Test arena.
“He’s in career-best form, in the sense he’s taking a lot of wickets for Essex,” Langer said.
“He was excellent for Victorian and the Strikers at the end of last year.
“He is an awesome Australian and he will be brilliant for our young bowling group.”
Glenn Maxwell was a surprise omission, with Langer wanting to see more centuries from the Victorian allrounder before selecting him for Test duties.
Peter Handscomb, Joe Burns, and Jhye Richardson were other notable omissions.
The squad contains three spinners. Nathan Lyon is a lock to play, while Jon Holland is favoured to get the nod ahead of Ashton Agar for a spot in the final XI.
Mitch Marsh is favoured to be named vice-captain.