Ponting rested; Lee, Symonds back in Australia squad

Australia's 14-man squad named on Wednesday to play Pakistan in a one-day series in the United Arab Emirates beginning this month.

updated: April 11, 2009 06:32 IST
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Injury-prone Brett Lee and troubled all-rounder Andrew Symonds on Wednesday returned to the Australian team for the upcoming one-day series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi and Dubai starting April 22.

However, Cricket Australia's National Selection Panel have not included regular skipper Ricky Ponting, out-of-form Michael Hussey and pacer Mitchel Johnson in the 14-member squad to give them due rest before the Ashes and the ICC World Twenty20 Championship in England in June.

Michael Clarke will lead the team in the five ODIs and one-off Twenty20 match in Abu Dhabi and Dubai from April 22-May 7 while wicket-keeper batsman Brad Haddin will stand as his deputy.

Meanwhile, NSP Chairman Andrew Hilditch said he supported the recommendation of the team's coaching and medical staff to rest the trio "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 September when Australia's VB Tour of India commenced. Having Ricky and Michael in prime form mentally and physically for the Ashes is critical and the series against Pakistan is the only opportunity to give them an appropriate break prior to the start of a very important period," he said.

Hilditch added that Symonds return will further bolster the composition of the team, but made it clear that clear that Lee's availability will be subject to fitness.

Lee has been out of the team with injuries since the Test series loss to South Africa at home.

"Andrew Symonds has been cleared to resume playing for the Australian cricket. At his best Andrew is a dynamic one-day player with an outstanding record.

"Brett Lee has been included in the squad subject to fitness. His return to bowling at full pace will be monitored carefully and will be reviewed closer to the date of the commencement of the tour. We have added an additional bowler to the squad to enable us to manage the workload of the fast bowlers and in particular Brett," he said.

Hilditch also informed that right-arm pacer Peter Siddle has been omitted from the touring party to give him time to prepare for the Ashes and World Twenty20, while all-rounder Shane Watson returned to the squad as a specialist batsman.

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

He is seen as a potentially key member of our squad for our defence of the Ashes.

"Shane Watson has been picked in the squad as a batter.

Depending on his progress, he may be in a position to bowl towards the end of the series.

Although left-handed opener Shaun Marsh, who has been nursing a hamstring injury, have been named in the squad, his availability too depends upon his fitness.

"Shaun Marsh performed really well for Australia in one-day cricket last year and is now expected to be ready to return from his hamstring injury. He has been picked subject to fitness."

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.