MOISES Henriques is confident he’s learnt important lessons from his baptism of fire in India last year, but admits he’ll be up against it in South Africa.
Henriques was a late call-up to the 15-man squad today after in-form allrounder James Faulkner was ruled out with a knee injury.
Faulkner appeared on the verge of forcing his way back into the Test side after his heroics throughout the one-day series and gritty one-off Test appearance at The Oval last August.
But the landscape has changed dramatically, with Henriques only newly back in the international picture and battling for consistency this summer.
Former Test batsman Dean Jones was quick to question Henriques’ selection on social media, pointing out that the 26-year-old had averaged 34 with the bat and taken just five wickets in first-class cricket before the break in the Sheffield Shield in December.
Australia have a vacancy to fill in the middle order and Henriques says a last-start Shield hundred makes him believe he can come from the clouds and make the most of a lucky chance.
“It’s unfortunate for James … he’s been playing some very good cricket over the summer, so I’ve got some big shoes to fill there,” Henriques said in Hobart today.
“To get the call-up to the Test tour is pretty delightful.
“It’s going to be tough.
“Barring injuries, you’d assume it’s a very similar line-up … “I just need to make sure I’m doing all the work off the field. If there’s a vacancy, I’m there ready to step up.
“I certainly feel like my batting has progressed over the last couple of years, and my cricket altogether.
“When I was younger, I struggled to learn from mistakes and I feel I’m learning quicker now.” In a mixed debut Test tour of the subcontinent in 2013, Henriques made impressive runs in the opener before struggling in the next two Tests as Australia nosedived.
After a mixed run in his three Shield games, more recently he’s been a solid contributor for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League.
Henriques will play in the opening Twenty20 international against England on Wednesday, before heading to South Africa on Friday.
Faulkner had collected two man-of-the-match awards in the one-day international series against England, including on Sunday, where he bowled out his allotted overs before pulling up sore after the match.
The 23-year-old is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery in Melbourne today and it’s hoped he will be fit to join the South Africa tour for the closing T20 series before continuing to March’s World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh.
National Selector John Inverarity said Henriques deserved another chance in the Test squad.
“Moises Henriques has shown some good form recently with both bat and ball and he provides a good fit when looking to replace James,” he said.
South Australian Kane Richardson has been drafted in to take Faulkner’s place in Australia’s squad for the T20 Internationals against England, beginning in Hobart on Wednesday night.
Australia Test squad for South Africa: Michael Clarke (c), Brad Haddin (vc), Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, Moises Henriques, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Chris Rogers, Siddle, Steve Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson.