Lee, Watson, Symonds in Australia’s Twenty20 World Cup squad

May 5th, 2009 - 1:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, May 5 (IANS) Fast bowler Brett Lee, all-rounders Shane Watson and Andrew Symonds have been picked up for the 15-member Australian squad for next month’s Twenty20 World Cup in England.
Victorian fast bowler Dirk Nannes and Twenty20 sensation David Warner of New South Wales have also been selected for their consistent performances in the shortest version of the game. Both the players are currently playing for Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in South Africa.

Ricky Ponting will lead the side while Michael Clarke will be his deputy.

The inclusion of Lee and Watson has come as a surprise because both haven’t bowled in competitive matches in the last year or so.

Lee is coming out of an foot and ankle surgery and is expected to make his international comeback in Thursday’s Twenty20 international against Pakistan in Dubai. He is also likely to join Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.

Watson could also make a return to bowling in the series finale against Pakistan, and has similar plans to play for IPL’s defending champions Rajasthan Royals.

National selection panel chairman Andrew Hilditch said it was a strong squad with the potential to win the Twenty20 World Cup.

“Building up to this selection, Shane Watson has returned to the one-day side and performed extra well with the bat in the series in the UAE. He’ll return to bowling in Thursday’s T20 game there and adds strength and versatility to the side.

“At his best Andrew Symonds is one of the best T20 players in the world. In limited opportunities in the UAE he showed in the second game his ability to win matches for Australia. He also adds versatility to our squad,” said Hilditch in a statement.

“Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle have both had their workloads managed in advance of upcoming international cricket. They are both very important members of the Australian bowling group and their return will add significant strength to the side.

“Brett Lee is progressing well and will return to international cricket in Thursday’s T20 game against Pakistan. We expect it will take him a few games to regain his rhythm after the extended break but the medical and coaching staff are very confident Brett will be back to his best for this tournament,” Hilditch added.

Mike Hussey along with his brother David also managed to retain his place in the side.

“David Hussey is an important part of our plans and displayed his credentials in the first international T20 against South Africa in South Africa recently. His fielding is sharp and he gives us good overs in T20 cricket. David Warner is an example of a player added for his specific skills in T20 cricket and has the ability to give us an explosive start at the top of the order,” the chief selector said.

Squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes, David Hussey, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Peter Siddle, Andrew Symonds, David Warner and Shane Watson.

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