Australia’s test stars have the opportunity to compete for their states in the final 15 games of the season after this month’s test tour of the south Africa has been canceled

This is an added incentive for a group of hungry Test hopefuls who now have the chance to stage the best players in the nation with home ash on the horizon

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With no tests completed before the series begins in November, strong performances against the red ball will now carry a lot of weight

Here we take a look at the fringe gamblers who will try to create their cases for an Ashes call

To be honest, Usman Khawaja could do a mountain of runs in the final laps and still be considered smoky for the ash pick, Justin Langer and his colleagues just fell in love with him, and it’s unclear why

In the midst of an opener crisis, Khawaja was shunned at the top of the Australian order despite a Testing average of 96, while averaging 5650 for Queensland this season

Most of his work has been at Nr3 or Nr4. With Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith holding mortgages on the positions for Australia, it may be time for Khawaja to consider another crack at the opening

Should he get promoted and do well again, his track record calls for serious thought to return with David Warner – especially if Will Pucovski is out for the remainder of the season

Travis Head will be looking for the career start he desperately needs to get off Australia’s XI again this summer

The 27-year-old averages 39 years old75 after 19 tests but has made a habit of wasting strong starts in order to be fired for mediocre results

Selectors ran out of patience over the summer, but he’s still a player on the radar who has proven he can keep up with two test tons and seven fifties at the highest level

Meanwhile, Matthew Wade was not selected for the doomed tour of South Africa, suggesting Head’s competition has decreased by one, Wade will now miss out on shield games for Australia’s T20 tour of New Zealand, meaning that Head has the golden opportunity to secure his place in the test queue in front of him

Ben McDermott was a name on some people’s lips before summer until Shane Warne suggested he deserve an overhead shot in the Australian middle class

It’s a bold call, but certainly not an unfounded McDermott has long been a tough batsman with white balls but is showing early signs that he can make it against the red ball as well

The 26-year-old averaged 59 years old16 this Shield season and was remarkably consistent, making four half centuries in seven innings

A three-digit score has gone begging which has become a topic in his top notch career – he only converted two of his 17 half centuries

If he finds the missing piece of the puzzle, Head could get a rude shock down the line

When the clock is ticking on Tim Paine’s testing career, Alex Carey is running out of time, too

Any streak could be Paine’s last – unless he decides it’s coming already – which means now is the time for all wicketkeeping hopefuls to impress

The South Australian should go to South Africa, which means he dodged the White Ball tour of New Zealand and finally has the chance to win more top notch games

It’s a rare opportunity for Carey, who has only played 37 top-rated games since his debut eight years ago and made a respectable 2 in those games014 runs at 3413, along with four centuries and 11 fifties

Should Carey provide some recent examples of how he can play against the red ball, he’ll be putting himself in a strong position to replace Paine

All eyes are on Carey as a potential Paine replacement, but Josh Inglis is also emerging as a major competitor

The 25-year-old has already left two centuries behind him this season, averaging 11,800 from lower order Western Australia

And that doesn’t mean anything about his glove work and his spin ability – both are highly rated

His top-notch career numbers are similar to Carey’s (1846 runs at 32) 96), while this summer he also impressed in the BBL with 413 runs at 3441

Carey has years of international experience working in his favor, but there is no doubt that Inglis’ career is trending upwards

Pattinson is already a known size of the ball and a ready-to-use replacement in the event that one of the Australian quicks is injured or Mitchell Starc fails to regain shape

Pattinson has 81 test wickets at 2633 but missed the Border Gavaskar series after injuring himself in a freak accident on his farm

He’s lost time now to make it up to you. You’d hate to get caught standing in his way

Mitchell Swepson’s door to the test team has long been closed – and it’s far too early to say that, despite Nathan Lyon’s calm summer, that has changed

Swepson could be at the forefront of this discussion during the Ashes, especially if his second half of the Shield season is something like his first

The 27-year-old is the leading wicket taker this season by daylight seconds.Swepson took a whopping 23 wickets in his first three games – including the best numbers of 5-55 – with an average of 2117

Those are numbers to be excited about, albeit from a small sample size. If Swepson can build on that in the coming weeks, Twin Spin could become an attractive option sometime this summer

Michael Neser has set up outstanding numbers for years and is still without a test cap

Given the strength of the Australian bowling attack, he has to do something really amazing to change that or benefit from a range of injuries

For now, the only thing the 30-year-old can do is make sure he doesn’t let up with the ball and hope that his luck will change at some point

His numbers are strong again with 10 wickets at 2440 in his first three games, while he further solidifies his all-rounder status with 145 runs at 4833

Neser’s intimate knowledge of the gabba and the ability to swing the ball are also worth noting, as Australia suffered a loss of shock at the venue this summer and did not find much sideways movement

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World News – AU – Cricket Australia, Sheffield Shield, Results: Participants in Ashes 2021 Test Series, NSW v Victoria