Ponting rested, Clarke to lead Australia against Pakistan

April 8th, 2009 - 3:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, April 8 (IANS) Michael Clarke will lead Australia in the five match One-day series against Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi starting April 22. The selection committee decided to rest Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Mitchell Johnson in view of the forthcoming Ashes and Twenty20 World Cup.
Cricket Australia’s (CA) National Selection Panel (NSP) also recalled Andrew Symonds, Brett Lee and Shane Watson in the 14-member squad announced Wednesday.

Symonds get a look-in after repeated off-field problems prompted CA to take disciplinary action and keep him out of the squad. Lee and Watson are coming back from injuries.

NSP Chairman Andrew Hilditch said the team support staff recommended to rest the three players and they have given the approval.

“We support the recommendation of the coaching and medical staff that Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Mitchell Johnson not participate in the series so that their workload can be managed appropriately in preparation for the forthcoming ICC World Twenty20 and Ashes.”

“The workload of all three players has been immense since Australia’s tour of India in September,” Hilditch said in a statement.

Hilditch said Ponting, Hussey and Johnson should be in prime form mentally and physically for the T20 World Cup in June and Ashes in July.

“The series against Pakistan is the only opportunity to give them an appropriate break.”

“Peter Siddle is also not part of the touring squad. An extensive programme has been mapped out for Peter in preparation for potential selection in the World Twenty20 and the Ashes.”

“The tour provides a great opportunity for Michael Clarke to captain the side in Ricky’s absence. It will allow Michael to hone his captaincy skills. This is a challenge that Michael is looking forward to,” Hilditch said.

Symonds hasn’t played since December while he was undergoing a rehabilitation programme of CA.

“At his best Andrew is a dynamic one-day player with an outstanding record for Australia. It will now be up to him to seize this opportunity.”

“Brett Lee has been included in the squad subject to fitness. His return to bowling at full pace will be monitored carefully,” Hilditch said.

“Shane Watson has been picked as a batsman. Depending on his progress, he may be in a position to bowl towards the end of the series.”

Ben Hilfenhaus has returned to the One-day squad after missing the South Africa series.

Australia squad:

Michael Clarke (captain), Brad Haddin (vice captain), Nathan Bracken, Callum Ferguson, Brett Geeves, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes, David Hussey, Ben Laughlin, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson

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