Cricket Australia have confirmed a 14-man 'A' squad who will head to New Zealand for a pair of matches against New Zealand A during April.
New Zealand and England have similar swinging and seaming conditions, and it's believed that the preparation matches will allow some of the players in the A squad to push their way into contention for a place in the likely 18-man touring group for the tour of England later this year.
Australia will ultimately play six Tests when they tour England from June, with the World Test Championship final - likely against India - to precede the Ashes against England.
The 14-man squad to play in New Zealand will spend two four-day matches on green, seaming pitches at Lincoln, with the matches to feature the Dukes brand ball that is used in England.
Australia last won a Test series in England during 2001, and while none of the likely starting XI for the first Test will travel to New Zealand, all of Peter Handscomb, Matthew Renshaw and Mitchell Swepson are involved.
Tim Ward, who could well find himself with a Test debut during the Ashes if David Warner's form continues to wane, has also been included, while Western Australian star of tomorrow Teague Wyllie features.
Wes Agar, Xavier Bartlett and Joel Paris will all make the trip, as will Jimmy Pierson, Nathan McSweeney and Aaron Hardie, who could all be on Australian selectors' future radars, with mass turnover expected in the Australian team in the coming years.
"The squad contains some experienced, strong performers in state cricket, along with several emerging players we believe have exciting futures ahead of them," National selection chair George Bailey said in a statement revealing the squad.
"We are committed to the continued expansion of the Australia A program and these games are specifically designed to expose these players to conditions they may not experience in Australia.
"With an Ashes this winter and a tour of New Zealand early next year, this is a great opportunity for this group to perform in similar environments to those countries.
"Having Pete (Handsomb), Matt (Renshaw), Mitch (Swepson) and Jimmy (Peirson) will add experience as senior players who can impart their knowledge of different conditions."
Australia A squad to tour New Zealand
Wes Agar, Xavier Bartlett, Aaron Hardie, Peter Handscomb, Spencer Johnson, Campbell Kellaway, Nathan McSweeney, Joel Paris, Mitch Perry, Jimmy Pierson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Tim Ward, Teague Wyllie