‘I didn‘t really understand’: Moises Henriques baffled by Test axing SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 23: Moises Henriques of New South Wales shows his frustration during day four of the Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and Victoria at Sydney Cricket Ground, on November 23, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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Through no fault of his own, New South Wales veteran Moises Henriques suddenly finds himself well out of contention for a Test recall.

Moises Henriques was on track for a long-awaited return to Test cricket earlier this year, but the New South Wales veteran suddenly finds himself well out of contention through no fault of his own.

Henriques was part of the Australian Test squad for last summer’s Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but was not selected during the four-match series against India.

The all-rounder was also named in the Australian squad scheduled to tour South Africa in February, but the Test series was postponed due to Covid-19 concerns.

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Matthew Wade had been omitted from the squad, and several pundits believed Henriques would have replaced the Tasmanian at No. 5 in the South Africa tour went ahead.

But earlier this month, the 34-year-old was not named in either of the Australian squads that travelled to Queensland ahead of the Ashes.

Henriques did not play any first-class cricket between March and November due to Indian Premier League commitments, and that lack of red-ball cricket at least partly contributed to his axing.

“I have a different view to what the selectors do,” Henriques said.

“To be picked on one Test tour and be told that I was there and thereabouts to be playing on that tour, then the next Test tour rolls around and you‘re not in the best 25.

“It‘s a huge fall, considering I hadn’t played any other four-day games or (Sheffield) Shield games in that break.

“I didn‘t agree with the process of it all.

“I didn‘t really understand the logic.

“But it‘s not my job to understand the logic either.

“It‘s just my job to go out and keep playing as well as I can.”

Henriques has been one of the most consistent performers in the Sheffield Shield over the past 24 months – since September 2019, he has amassed 1145 runs at 60.26 in the first-class competition, scoring five centuries and three fifties in that time.

Last year, he was named joint Sheffield Shield Player of the Season alongside Victorian batter Nic Maddinson.

Speaking to reporters earlier this month, national selector George Bailey said it was “unfortunate” that Henriques had not had an opportunity to push his case for selection since returning from the second leg of the IPL.

Henriques delayed his return from the United Arab Emirates to avoid hotel quarantine and subsequently missed the Blues’ first two Sheffield Shield matches of the summer.

When he finally joined the New South Wales side ahead of last week’s first-class match against Victoria at the MCG, the Australia and Australia A squads had already been announced.

T20 World Cup hero Mitchell Marsh and Queensland batter Matt Renshaw were included in the Australia A squad, with both seemingly leapfrogging Henriques in the pecking order.

“Unfortunate for him, that we haven’t been able to see him play any cricket up until this point,” Bailey said.

“I‘ve been in good contact with Mo and he knows that not being here, certainly as part of the A squad, is not necessarily the end for him.

“We know he‘s a quality player and he’s been particularly consistent, but I guess it’s a slight difference of our Ashes focus of trying to win the here and now versus the balance of the Australia A game.”

Henriques made his Test debut back in 2013, but has only represented Australia in the game’s longest format on four occasions – his last appearance in the Baggy Green came more than five years ago.

Regardless, Henriques is adamant he can make a long-awaited return to the Test side if he continues piling on the runs at domestic level.

“I still believe if I score enough runs, keep banging the door down and keep doing what I know I can do well, then I‘ll still play another Test match for Australia,” he said.

Henriques will lead the Sydney Sixers in the eleventh edition of the Big Bash League this summer, with the men in pink hunting for a third consecutive title.

The Sixers will face the Melbourne Stars for their tournament opener at the SCG on Sunday, with the first ball scheduled for 7.15pm AEDT.

Australia and Australia A will play a three-day internal match in Brisbane starting on Wednesday, but Queensland’s dreary weather threatens to interrupt the squad’s Ashes preparations.

The first Test between Australia and England gets underway on Wednesday, December 8 at the Gabba.

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