Looking back at six recent Australian players whose joy of earning the Baggy Green was shortlived, with no further opportunities after their debut Test.
Some of these cricketers featured in multiple formats for Australia but could not build on their debut performance in whites, playing exactly one Test before they were dropped. Since 2010, a total of 48 players have debuted in Test cricket for Australia, with the following players being left out after varying success in their maiden game.
#6 Callum Ferguson
Only Test: v South Africa, Hobart (2016)
4 runs @ 2.00, HS: 3
Touted to be a future batting mainstay for Australia, Ferguson’s hot-and-cold ODI career did translate into a Test call-up, but only once he’d turned 32, The one-off experience hardly saw him live up to his potential. Across two innings against South Africa’s nifty pace attack, Ferguson managed just four runs. In the first innings, a direct-hit from a substitute ended his stay on 3 (with Australia crumbling to 17-5), while in the second innings, a fresh-faced Kagiso Rabada bounced him out. A promising international career ended right there.
#5 John Hastings
Only Test: v South Africa, Hobart (2012)
1 wicket @ 153.00, BBI: 1-51
Before illness stalled his charge, Hastings developed into a formidable white-ball bowler, but his Test career lasted just one game. Sharing the new ball with Mitchell Starc against a star-studded South African line-up, Hastings saw the back of AB de Villiers in the first innings, but had a listless second-half of his debut, conceded 102 runs without a wicket.
#4 Joe Mennie
Only Test: v South Africa, Hobart (2016)
1 wicket @ 85.00, BBI: 1-85
Debuting in the same game as Ferguson, Mennie bowled his medium-pace first-change, snaring Temba Bavuma for what was his only Test wicket. The debut came at the expense of Peter Siddle, who had suffered a back injury. The maiden performance wasn’t anything striking, with the overall focus shifting on Australia being bundled out for 85 (of which Mennie contributed 10 runs). Mennie had described his call-up as a “shock”, but there were no surprises or call-ups thereafter.
#3 Peter George
Only Test: v India, Bengaluru (2010)
2 wickets @ 38.50, BBI: 2-48
Dismissing Sachin Tendulkar would have been on the dream list of many youngsters in the 2000s, and while the 6’6” tall George did accomplish the feat, it was only after the batsman had amassed 214. It was a prized wicket no doubt, but it eventually proved to be one of only two scalps in George’s Test cabinet, with no Test appearances to follow the 2010 Bengaluru Test.
#2 Chadd Sayers
Only Test: v South Africa, Johannesburg (2018)
2 wickets @ 73.00, BBI: 2-78
Sayers made his debut right after the infamous Cape Town Test, using his inswing to get the better of AB de Villiers (playing his final Test) in his very first innings. The seam was pronounced, the lengths were right, but there were no wickets the second time he took the field. Unfortunately for him, there was also no space to make a lasting impact at a time when Australia’s pace-bowling larder was full to the brim.
#1 James Faulkner
Only Test: v England, The Oval (2013)
45 runs @ 22.50, HS: 23; 6 wickets @ 16.33, BBI: 4-51
Australia’s hero at the 2015 World Cup, Faulkner was pigeonholed as a short-format specialist, despite putting together a decent all-round showing in the only opportunity he got in whites. Faulkner got his chance in the final Test of the 2013 Ashes with England already leading the series 3-0. Then 23, he first hit a 21-ball 23 from No.8 and in the second innings, was promoted to No.3 during Australia’s pursuit for quick runs, scoring a run-a-ball 22.
With the ball, he snared four wickets in his first innings (including scalps of Ian Bell and Matt Prior), and in the second innings, sent back Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott. However, the Test joy was shortlived: Mitchell Johnson roared back into the side with a stunning 2013/14 Ashes campaign, and the side later tried out Mitchell Marsh for the all-rounder’s role. In 2016, Faulkner said that he didn’t want to stay a one-Test wonder, but five years since it seems unlikely he’ll add to that tally.
Special mention: Will Pucovski
Only Test: v India, Sydney (2021)
72 runs @ 36.00, HS: 62
That Will Pucovski will get a chance to add more Test caps is evident, but the injury-riddled journey so far hasn’t been too easy, having suffered multiple concussions by the age of 22. On debut, he looked the part, scoring a composed 62 in his first innings. At 23, further opportunities surely await the opener.