Basseterre, Saint Kitts – Nevis
April 01,, 2008 (CUOPM)
Australia have named a revamped Test squad and a 14-man team for the five one-day internationals during the upcoming tour of the West Indies, which includes two One-Day International games at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium.
The Australians have recalled batsman Simon Katich and including two spin bowlers.
Veteran leg spinner Stuart MacGill and left-arm spinner Beau Casson are among 15 players selected in the squad for the three-Test series, while Michael Clarke was named vice-captain after the retirement of Adam Gilchrist.
The 14-man squad for the five one-day internationals against the West Indies includes batsman Michael Hussey’s younger brother David for the first time.
According to the Times On-Line, Andrew Hilditch, chair of national selectors, said 26-year-old Clarke would be vice-captain to Ricky Ponting for both squads after he demonstrated his leadership credentials during the summer.
Clarke, who recently rejected the opportunity to play in the lucrative Indian Premier League to spend more time with his ill father, captained the Australian Twenty20 side to victory over India in February.
“With Adam Gilchrist retiring after a stellar Australian career we have identified the need to look towards the future,” Hilditch said.
“While we had some very strong candidates within the current team, including those of the calibre of Michael Hussey, we had no hesitation in recommending Michael Clarke for the position.”
Hilditch said 37-year-old MacGill, who has claimed 203 Test wickets since earning his baggy green in 1998, had used the domestic series to prove he was back to fitness after hand surgery to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.
Casson also won selectors’ attention during the summer, with the 25-year-old taking the wicket that won New South Wales the Sheffield Shield competition and finishing the season with 29 wickets at an average of 35.
Katich, who was dropped from the Test team in November 2005 and later lost his Cricket Australia contract, scored a record 1,506 runs in the domestic season at an average of more than 94.
“Since he was omitted from the Australian side there is nothing more we could have asked Simon to do,” Hilditch said of the 32-year-old batsman.
Katich said he deserved to be dropped from the team after he averaged 27.55 in the 2005 Ashes series but that he was now a “totally different” player.
“I do know my game a lot better now,” he said. “Having been in and out of the team has taught me a lot of lessons. This time around I probably appreciate it a lot more. It’s a very proud moment and I feel honoured to be back in there… it’s a special moment.”
All-rounder Ashley Noffke and fast-to-medium bowler Ben Hilfenhaus, both yet to play at Test level, were also named to the squad.
David Hussey and Cameron White were selected for the one-day squad, alongside 24-year-old batsman Shaun Marsh, son of former Test opener Geoff Marsh.
Hilditch said fast bowler Nathan Bracken, who is recovering from knee surgery, had been selected for the one-day squad “completely subject to fitness.”
Australia begin their tour of the West Indies with the first Test in Jamaica on May 22, moving to Antigua for the second from May 30 and the final Test in Barbados on June 12.
The one-day internationals, which will follow a one-off Twenty20 match on June 20, begin in St. Vincent on June 24 and conclude on July 6 in St Kitts. A One-Day will also be played in St. Kitts on July 4th.
Test team: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Beau Casson, Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Phil Jaques, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Stuart MacGill, Ashley Noffke, Andrew Symonds.
One-day squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin, Matthew Hayden, James Hopes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Andrew Symonds, Cameron White